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72*7 


RUSSIAN   FOLK-TALES 


DEDICATED 
TO 

j.  c. 


RUSSIAN 
FOLK  -TALES 

(TRANSLATED   FROM   THE   RUSSIAN) 


WITH   INTRODUCTION   AND   NOTES 


LEONARD  AT  MAGNUS,  LL.B. 

EDITOR  AND   TRANSLATOR   OF   "THE   ARMAMENT  OF  IGOR  (A.D.    1 

ETC. 


b  /r 

'  o  u '  y^    r'v  j  sv*< a  - 


^ 


LONDON 

KEGAN    PAUL,    TRENCH,    TRUBNER   &*   CO.,   LTD. 
NEW    YORK:    E.   P.   BUTTON  AND   CO. 


First  Published        October 
Second  Impression    September  1916 


3115 


THE  PRONUNCIATION  OF  RUSSIAN  WORDS 

Every  Russian  word  has  one  strongly  accented  syllable,  which 
is  marked  with  an  acute  accent.  The  vowels  are  to  be  sounded  as 
in  Italian. 

Ch  to  be  sounded  as  in  English. 

G  always  hard,  as  in  '  give,'  '  got '  :  never  as  in  *  gem.' 

J  always  as  in  English. 

Kh  like  German  ch,  or  Scotch  cb  in  '  loch.'' 

L  when  hard  (e.g.  before  a,  o,  u)  something  like  //  in  '  pu// ' ; 
when  soft  (e.g.  before  e,  i)  like  I  in  French  '  vi/.' 

S  always  hard,  as  in  '  ro.' 
V  as  in  English  :   at  the  end  of  words  as  *  f.' 
Y  consonantally,  as  in  English  '  yet ' ;    as  a  vowel  like  '  i '  in 
<  wxll.' 

Z  always  as  in  English. 

Zh  like  '  s  '  in  leimre,  or  French  '  ].' 


CONTENTS 

Page 

Introduction          ........  v 

The  Pronunciation  of  Russian  Words  xi 
./The  Dun  Cow      ........         I 

A  Tale  of  the  Dead     '.         ...         .         .         .  6 

•  A  Tale  of  the  Dead     '  .         .          .          ...         8 

/A  Tale  of  the  Dead        .         .         .    /     .         .          .         .         9 

6   The  Bear,  the  Dog  and  the  Cat  '  .v  "/?£<?.         .         .  13  > 

Egori  the  Brave  and  the  Gipsy         .         .         .         .         .    .   17  *' 

£  Danilo  the  Unfortunate          .          .         .         .         .         .  22  X 

The  Sorry  Drunkard      .......  30 

.....         •  33 


Talf  r>f  tV|  ft  Silver  Saucer  and  the  Crystal  Apple          .  36  / 

:  TJie^Fonndling  Prince    .  ......  42 

The  Sun  and  how  it  was  Made  by  Divine  Will  .  43  . 

The  Language  of  the  Birds     .          .          .          .          .*        .  45 

•Baba  Yaga  and  ZamorysheJ^^  /  C  l0^  'v*u0^       V        .          .  48  \ 

l-^The  Miraculous  Hen      .         .  ^T.         .  .'.      52  - 

Mark  the  Rich       ....          .....  6l  \ 

>/By  Command  of  the  Prince  Daniel  ....  64 

n^The  Thoughtless  Word  .         .         .         .        ....  70 

The  Tsaritsa  Harpist      .......  75 

0  VThe  Tale  of  Ivan  Tsarevich,  the  Bird  of  Light,  and  the  Grey 

Wolf        .         .         !&^0       .....  78 

The  Priest  with  the  Envious  Eyes    .          ....       91 

30?  The  Soldier  and  Death  .         .         .         .         .         .         .96 

>/The  MidnighT  Dance     .......  106 

59  Vasilisa  the  Fair    .....  .          .  109 


xiv  CONTENTS 

VO    The  Animals  in  the  Pit 

•  The  Poor  Widow  .         , 

Ilya  Muromets  and  Svyatog6r  the  Knight 

The  Smith  and  the  Devil 

v/The  Princess  who  would  not  Smile  .... 

The  Tsarevich  and  Dyad'ka    ..... 

Prince  Evstafi        ....... 

l%\     Vasilisa  Popovna    ....... 

The  Dream  ^     . 

|  (^7    The  Soldier  and  the  Tsar  in  the  Forest    .... 

1         The  Tale  of  Alexander  of  Macedon          .... 

The  Brother  of  Christ   .         .         .          .          . 

\~?7    Alyosha  Popovich  ....... 

God's  Blessing  Compasses  all  Things         .          .         . 
\<b^   Shemyak  the  Judge         ....... 

A  Story  of  Saint  Nicholas       ...... 

The  Potter /   . 

«Q  /rp  The  Witch  and  the  Sister  of  the  Sun  >/  Qb      . 

Marya  Moryevna  ........ 

The  Realm  of  Stone       ....... 

«^  The  Story  of  Tsar  Angey  and  how  he  Suffered  for  Pride    . 
The  Feast  oi  the  DeadX1        ~.         !         '. 
The  Quarrelsome  Wife  ....... 

Elijah  the  Prophet  and  St.  Nicholas          .... 

J The  Princess  to  be  Kissed  at  a  Charge      .          .          .         .220 

The  Wood  Sprite 223 

/The  Realms  of  Copper,  Silver  and  Gold  .          .         .     225 

Chufil-Filyushka 230 

Donotknow  ....'....     234 

*    The  Sea  Tsar  and  Vasilisa  the  Wise  ....     243 

The  Animals'  Winter  Quarters         .          .         .         .         .256 

The  Story  of  Ilya  Muromets  and  the  Nightingale  Robber  .     260 

Nikita  the  Tanner 267 

The  Singing-Tree  and  the  Speaking-Bird       ^ .          .          .     269 


CONTENTS  xv 

Page 

v/At  the  Behest  of  the  Pike 274 

The  Journey  to  Jerusalem  /    .          .          .          .          .          .281 

\  Vazuza  and  Volga          V/)C;v&rvt)       ....     282  ^ 

*/The  Enchanted  Tsarevich       .......     283 

yrhe  Snake  Princess         .  •  .          .          .          .          .     287 

Beer  and  Bread     ........     292 

Sorrow         .........     299 

^Tvashko  and  the  Wise  Woman  s/  '°r  ".         .         .         .306 

Never- wash  .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .311 

Christ  and  the  Geese      .          .          .          .          .          .          .     315 

Christ  and  Folk-songs     .          .          .          .          .          .          .316 

The  Devil  in  the  Dough -pan  .         .         .         .     /   .         .317 

A  The  Sun,  The  Moon  and  Crow  Crowson  v  .  V  .  .  318 
The  Legless  Knight  and  the  Blind  Knight  .  .  .321 
A  Cure  for  Story-Telling  ......  333^ 

Notes  ..........     335 

Glossary       .........     349 


RUSSIAN    FOLK-TALES 


THE   DUN   COW 

You  know  that  there  are  all  sorts  in  this  world,  good 
and  bad,  people  who  do  not  fear  God,  and  feel  no  shame 
before  their  own  brother. 

In  a  certain  kingdom,  in  a  certain  land,  there  once 
lived  a  Tsar  and  Tsaritsa,  who  had  one  only  daughter, 
Marya  Tsarevna.  But  the  old  Tsaritsa  died  and  the 
Tsar  took  to  him  a  second  wife,  who  was  a  witch.  And 
the  witch  had  three  daughters,  one  of  whom  had  one 
eye,  the  next  two  eyes,  and  the  third  had  three.  The 
stepmother  could  not  abide  Marya  Tsarevna,  and  sent 
the  girl  with  a  dun  cow  on  to  the  heath,  and  gave  her 
a  dry  crust  as  her  only  food. 

Marya  Tsarevna  went  on  to  the  heath,  bowed  down 
to  the  right  foot  of  the  cow,  and  all  at  once  was  splendidly 
dressed,  and  had  as  much  to  eat  and  drink  as  she  liked. 
So  she  guarded  the  dun  cow  the  whole  day,  and  looked 
as  gay  as  any  lady  in  the  land.  And  at  night  she  bowed 
down  again  in  front  of  the  right  foot,  and  again  became 
shabby  and  went  home.  And  the  bit  of  bread  she  took 
with  her  and  offered  it  to  her  stepmother. 

"  Whatever  is  she  living  on  ?  "  the  witch  thought,  and 
she  gave  her  the  same  piece  of  bread  next  day,  and  told 
her  eldest  daughter  to  watch  what  Marya  Tsarevna 
did. 


2  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

When  they  reached  the  heath  Marya  Tsarevna  said : 
"  Come,  little  sister,  I  will  find  a  cushion  for  your  head." 
So  she  went  to  look,  but  whispered  to  herself : 

"  Sleep,  my  sister,  sleep, 

Sleep,  O  sister  mine  ; 
One  eye  go  to  sleep, 

Close  that  eye  of  thine." 

The  sister  went  to  sleep,  and  Marya  Tsarevna  stood 
up,  went  to  her  dear  dun  cow,  bowed  down  to  the  right 
foot,  and  ate,  and  drank,  and  went  about  all  day  long 
like  a  princess. 

In  the  evening  she  woke  up  her  sister  and  said :  "  Get 
up,  sister  ;  get  up,  dearest ;  and  we  will  go  home." 

"  Oh  !  oh  !  oh  !  "  he  sister  whimpered,  "  I  have  been 
asleep  all  day  long  and  have  not  seen  anything,  and 
mother  will  be  so  angry  !  " 

When  they  got  home,  the  stepmother  asked :  "  What 
was  it  Marya  Tsarevna  ate  and  drank  ?  " 

"  I  did  not  see  anything." 

So  the  witch  scolded  her,  and  next  day  sent  the  two- 
eyed  sister  with  Marya.  "  Go,"  she  said,  "  and  see  what 
she  eats  and  drinks." 

And  the  girls  came  to  the  heath,  and  Marya  Tsarevna 
said,  "  Come,  little  sister,  I  will  find  a  cushion  for  your 
head."  So  she  went  to  search,  and  whispered  to  herself  : 

"  Sleep,  my  sister,  sleep, 

Sleep,  O  sister  mine  ; 
Two  eyes  go  to  sleep, 

Close  both  eyes  of  thine." 

Two-eyes  went  to  sleep,  and  Marya  Tsarevna  bowed 
down  as  before,  to  the  right  foot  of  the  cow,  and  looked 
like  a  princess  all  day  long.  In  the  evening  she  roused 
Two-eyes ;  and  if  the  stepmother  was  angry  before,  she 
was  much  angrier  this  time. 


THE  DUN  COW  3 

So  next  day  she  sent  Three-eyes,  and  Marya  Tsarevna 
?)  sent  her  to  sleep  in  the  same  way ;  only  she  forgot  the 
third  eye,  and  that  went  on  looking  and  looking  at  what 
Marya  Tsarevna  did.  For  she  ran  to  her  dun  cow's 
right  foot,  bowed  down,  and  ate,  and  drank,  and  went 
about  all  day  long  splendidly  attired. 

And  when  she  got  home  she  laid  the  dry  crust  on  the 

table.    And  the  mother  asked  the  daughter  what  Marya 

Tsarevna  had  eaten  and  drunk.     Three-eyes  told  her 

J\  everything ;    and  the  witch  ordered  the  dun  cow  to 

^  be  slain. 

£)      "  You  must  be  mad,  woman,"  said  the  Tsar,  "  it's 
quite  a  young  heifer  and  so  beautiful !  " 

"  I  tell  you,"  said  the  stepmother,  "  it  must  be  done  " ; 
and  the  old  Tsar  consented. 

But  Marya  Tsarevna  asked  him :  "  Father,  do  at  least 
give  me  a  little  tiny  bit  out  of  the  cow  !  " 

The  old  man  gave  her  the  piece,  and  she  planted  it ; 
and  a  bush  with  sweet  berries  grew  up,  with  little  birds 
singing  on  it,  singing  songs  fit  for  kings  and  peasants. 

Now  Ivan  Tsarevich  had  heard  of  Marya  Tsarevna, 
went  to  her  stepmother,  laid  a  bowl  on  the  table,  and 
r)  said :    "  Whichever  of  the  maidens  brings  me  the  bowl 
full  of  berries,  I  will  marry." 

So  the  mother  sent  One-eye  to  get  the  berries.  But 
the  birds  drove  her  away  from  the  bush  and  almost 
pecked  out  her  one  eye  ;  and  so  with  Two-eyes  and 
Three-eyes.  At  last  Marya  Tsarevna  had  to  go.  Marya 
Tsarevna  took  the  bowl  and  gathered  the  berries,  and 
the  little  birds  helped  her  in  the  task.  When  she  got 
home  she  put  the  bowl  on  the  table  and  bowed  down  to 
Ivan  Tsarevich.  So  Ivan  Tsarevich  took  Marya  Tsarevna 
to  be  his  wife,  and  they  celebrated  a  merry  wedding  and 
lived  a  happy  life. 

But,  after  a  while,  Marya  Tsarevna  bore  a  son.  She 
wanted  to  show  him  to  her  father,  and,  together  with 


: 


4  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

©her  husband,  went  to  visit  him.  Then  the  stepmother 
turned  her  into  a  goose,  and  decked  her  eldest  daughter 
as  though  she  were  the  wife  of  Ivan  Tsarevich.  And 
Ivan  Tsarevich  returned  home. 

The  old  man,  who  tended  the  children,  got  up  early 
in  the  morning,  washed  himself  clean,  took  the  child  on 
his  arm  and  went  out  to  the  field,  to  the  bush  in  the 
field.  Grey  geese  were  flying  over  it. 

"  Geese,  ye  grey  ones,  where  is  the  baby's  mother  ?  " 

"  In  the  next  flock  !  " 

Then  the  next  flock  came  by. 

"  Geese,  ye  grey  ones,  where  is  the  baby's  mother  ?  " 

Then  the  baby's  mother  came  to  them,  threw  off  her 
feathers,  and  gave  her  little  child  the  breast,  and  began 
weeping : 

"  For  this  one  day  I  may  come,  and  to-morrow,  but 
the  next  day  I  must  fly  away  over  the  woods  and  over 
the  hills." 

The  old  man  went  back  home,  and  the  boy  slept  all 
day  long,  until  next  morning,  and  did  not  wake  up.  The 
false  wife  was  angry  with  him  for  taking  the  child  into 
the  fields  where  it  must  be  much  too  cold. 

But  next  morning  the  old  man  again  got  up  very  early, 
washed  himself  clean,  and  took  the  child  into  the  field. 
Ivan  Tsarevich  followed  him  secretly  and  hid  in  the 
bush.  Then  the  grey  geese  began  soaring  by. 

"  Geese,  ye  grey  ones,  where  is  the  baby's  mother  ?  " 

"  In  the  next  flock  !  " 

Then  the  next  flock  came  by. 

"  Geese,  ye  grey  ones,  where  is  the  baby's  mother  ?  " 

Then  the  baby's  mother  came  to  them,  threw  off  her 
feathers,  and  gave  her  little  child  the  breast,  and  began 
weeping :  "  For  this  one  day  I  may  come,  but  to- 
morrow I  must  fly  away  over  the  woods  and  over  the 
hills." 

Then  she  asked :    "  What  do  I  smell  there  ?  "  and 


THE   DUN  COW  5 

wanted  to  put  on  her  feathers  again,  but  could  not  find 
them  anywhere. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  had  burnt  them.  He  seized  hold  of 
Marya  Tsarevna,  but  she  turned  first  into  a  frog,  then 
into  a  lizard,  and  into  all  sorts  of  insects,  and  last  of  all 
into  a  spindle.  Ivan  Tsarevich  took  the  spindle  and 
broke  it  in  halves,  threw  the  dull  end  behind  him  and 
the  sharp  one  in  front ;  and  his  beautiful  young  wife 
stood  in  front  of  him,  and  they  went  home. 

Then  the  daughter  of  the  witch  cried  out :  "  The 
destroyer  and  the  wicked  woman  have  come." 

But  Ivan  Tsarevich  assembled  all  the  Princes  and  the 
boydrs,  and  he  asked  them :  "  With  which  wife  shall 
I  live  ?  " 

They  said  :    "  With  the  first." 

7\    But  he  answered,  "  My  lords,  whichever  wife  leaps 
yquickest  to  the  door  shall  remain  with  me." 

So  the  witch's  daughter  climbed  up  at  once,  but 
f  Marya  Tsarevna  clung  on.  Then  Ivan  Tsarevich  took 
,  his  gun  and  shot  the  substitute  wife,  and  lived  happy 
/ever  after  with  Marya  Tsarevna. 


A  TALE  OF  THE  DEAD 

ONE  day  a  peasant  was  going  by  night  with  pots  on  his 
head.  He  journeyed  on  and  on,  and  his  horse  became 
tired  and  came  to  a  spot  in  front  of  God's  acre.  The 
peasant  ungirded  the  horse,  set  it  to  graze,  but  he  could 
not  get  any  sleep.  He  lay  down  and  lay  down,  suddenly 
the  grave  began  opening  under  him,  and  he  felt  it  and 
leaped  to  his  feet.  Then  the  grave  opened  and  the  corpse 
with  the  coffin  lid  got  out,  with  his  white  shroud  on ; 
got  out  and  ran  up  to  the  church  door,  laid  the  coffin 
lid  at  the  gate  and  himself  went  into  the  village. 

Now  this  peasant  was  a  bold  fellow :  so  he  took  the 
coffin  lid  and  set  it  by  his  telega,  and  went  to  see  what 
would  come  of  it.  Very  soon  the  corpse  came  back, 
looked  about  him  and  could  not  find  the  coffin  lid  any- 
where, and  began  to  hunt  for  it.  And  at  last  he  came  up 
to  the  peasant,  and  said,  "  Give  me  my  coffin  lid,  or  else 
I  will  smash  you  to  atoms." 

"  What  are  you  bragging  for  ?  "  answered  the  peasant, 
"  I  will  break  you  up  into  little  bits." 

"  Do,  please,  give  it  me,  dear  good  man,"  asked  the 
corpse. 

"  Well,  I  will  give  it  you  if  you  will  tell  me  where  you 
have  been  and  what  you  have  done." 

"  Oh,  I  have  been  in  the  village,  and  I  there  slew  two 
young  lads !  " 

"  Well,  tell  me  how  to  revive  them." 

The  corpse  had  no  choice,  so  he  answered,  "  Cut  oil 
the  left  lappet  from  my  shroud  and  take  it  with  you. 
When  you  come  to  the  house  where  the  lads  have  died, 

6 


A  TALE  OF  THE  DEAD  7 

scatter  hot  sparks  into  a  pot  and  put  the  piece  of  my 
shirt  there,  then  close  the  door  and  at  the  breath  of  it 
they  will  revive  at  once." 

So  the  peasant  cut  off  the  left  lappet  from  the  shroud 
and  gave  him  back  the  coffin  lid.  Then  the  dead  man 
went  back  into  the  grave  and  laid  himself  down  in  it. 
Then  the  cocks  crowed  and  he  could  not  lock  it  down 
properly :  one  corner  of  the  coffin  lid  would  perk  up- 
wards. The  peasant  noticed  all  this.  Day  was  breaking, 
so  he  yoked  his  horse  and  went  into  the  village. 

In  a  certain  house  he  could  hear  the  sound  of  lamenta- 
tion and  cries  of  grief  :  he  went  in  there,  and  two  youths 
lay  dead.  "  Do  not  weep :  I  can  revive  them." 

"  Do  revive  them,  kinsman :  half  of  our  goods  we 
will  give  you,"  said  the  relations. 

So  the  peasant  did  as  the  corpse  had  told  him,  and  the 
lads  revived.  The  parents  were  delighted,  and  they 
seized  hold  of  the  peasant,  and  they  pinioned  him  with 
ropes.  "  Now,  doctor,  we  are  going  to  take  you  up  to 
the  authorities :  if  you  can  revive  them  it  must  be  you 
who  killed  them  !  " 

"  What,  good  Christians !  Have  some  fear  for  God  !  " 
the  peasant  shrieked :  and  he  told  what  he  had  seen  at 
night. 

Soon  the  news  spread  through  the  village,  and  the 
people  assembled  and  rushed  up  to  the  cemetery,  looked 
at  the  grave  out  of  which  the  corpse  had  come,  tore  it 
up  and  dug  into  the  dead  man's  heart  an  oaken  stake,  so 
that  he  should  never  rise  up  and  kill  folks.  And  they 
rewarded  the  peasant  greatly  and  led  him  home  with 
honour. 


A  TALE  OF  THE  DEAD 

ONCE  a  carpenter  was  going  home  late  at  night  from 
a  strange  village  :  he  had  been  at  a  jolly  feast  at  a  friend's 
house.  As  he  came  back  an  old  friend  met  him  who 
had  died  some  ten  years  before. 

"  How  do  you  do  ?  " 

"  How  do  you  do  ?  "  said  the  walker,  and  he  forgot 
that  his  friend  had  long  ago  taken  the  long  road. 

"  Come  along  with  me :    let  us  have  a  cup  together 


once  more." 


Let  us  go." 

I  am  so  glad  to  have  met  you  again,  let  us  toast  the 


occasion." 


So  they  went  into  an  izba,*  and  they  had  a  drink 
and  a  talk.  "  Well,  good-bye  ;  time  I  went  home  !  " 

"  Stay,  where  are  you  going  ?  Come  and  stay  the 
night  with  me." 

"  No,  brother,  do  not  ask  me :  it  is  no  good.  I  have 
business  at  home  to-morrow  and  must  be  there  early." 

"  Well,  good-bye." 

"But  why  should  you  go  on  foot  ?  Better  come  on 
my  horse,  and  he  will  gallop  along  gaily." 

"Thank  you  very  much." 

So  he  sat  on  the  horse,  and  the  horse  galloped  away 
like  a  whirlwind. 

Suddenly  the  cock  crowed :  it  was  a  very  terrible 
sight  !  Graves  all  around,  and  under  the  wayfarer  a 
gravestone  ! 

1  Hut. 
8 


A  TALE  OF  THE  DEAD 

THEY  had  discharged  the  soldier  home,  and  he  was 
going  on  his  road,  it  may  be  far,  it  may  be  a  short  way, 
and  he  at  last  was  nearing  his  village.  Not  far  from  his 
village  there  lived  a  miller  in  his  mill :  in  past  times  the 
soldier  had  been  great  friends  with  him. 

Why  should  he  not  go  and  see  his  friend  ?  So  he 
went. 

And  the  miller  met  him,  greeted  him  kindly,  brought 
a  glass  of  wine,  and  they  began  speaking  of  all  they  had 
lived  through  and  seen.  This  was  towards  the  evening, 
and  whilst  the  soldier  was  the  miller's  guest  it  had 
become  dark.  So  the  soldier  got  ready  to  go  into  the 
village. 

But  the  miller  said  to  him,  "  Soldier,  stay  the  night 
with  me :  it  is  late  and  you  might  come  by  some  mis- 
hap." 

"  What  ?  " 

"  A  terrible  sorcerer  has  died,  and  at  night  he  rises 
out  of  the  grave,  ranges  about  the  village  and  terrifies 
the  boldest :  why,  he  might  give  you  trouble." 

What  was  the  use  of  it  ?  Why,  the  soldier  was  a 
State  servant,  and  a  soldier  cannot  be  drowned  in  the 
sea,  nor  be  burned  in  the  fire  !  So  he  answered,  "  I  will 
go,  for  I  should  like  to  see  my  relatives  as  soon  as  I  can." 

So  he  set  out ;  and  the  road  crossed  a  grave-yard. 
As  he  looked  he  saw  a  glow  on  one  grave.  "  What  is  it  ?  " 
he  said  ;  "  I  must  look  at  this."  So  he  went  up,  and 
beside  a  fire  there  sat  the  sorcerer,  sewing  shoes.  "  Hail, 
brother  !  "  said  the  soldier. 


io  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


So  the  wizard  looked,  and  asked,  "  What  are  you 
doing  here  ?  " 

"  I  only  wanted  to  see  what  you  are  up  to." 

So  the  wizard  threw  down  his  work,  and  he  invited 
the  soldier  to  a  wedding.  "  Let  us  go,  brother,  let  us 
have  a  walk :  there  is  a  wedding  now  going  on  in  the 
village." 

"  Very  well,"  said  the  soldier. 

So  they  went  to  the  wedding,  and  were  royally  feasted 
and  given  to  eat  and  drink. 

The  wizard  drank  and  drank,  walked  about  and 
walked  about,  and  grew  angry,  drove  all  the  guests  and 
the  family  out  of  the  izba,1  scattered  all  the  wedding 
guests,  took  out  two  bladders  and  an  awl,  pricked  the 
hands  of  the  bride  and  bridegroom  and  drew  their 
blood,  filling  the  bladders  with  the  blood.  He  did  this 
and  said  to  the  soldier,  "  Now  we  will  leave  the  house." 

On  the  road  the  soldier  asked  him,  "  Tell  me,  why 
did  you  fill  the  bladders  with  the  blood  ?  " 

"  So  that  the  bride  and  bridegroom  might  die.  To- 
morrow nobody  will  be  able  to  wake  them  up :  I  only 
know  one  means  of  reviving  them." 

"  What  is  that  ?  " 

"  You  must  pierce  the  heels  of  the  bride  and  bride- 
groom and  pour  the  blood  again  into  the  wounds,  their 
own  blood  into  each.  In  my  right  pocket  I  have  the 
bridegroom's  blood  hidden,  and  in  my  left,  the  bride's." 

So  the  soldier  listened  and  never  said  a  single  word. 

But  the  wizard  went  on  boasting.  "  I,  you  know, 
carry  out  whatever  I  desire." 

"  Can  you  be  overcome  ?  " 

"  Yes,  certainly :  if  any  one  were  to  make  a  pile  of 
aspen  wood,  one  hundred  cartloads  in  all,  and  to  burn 
me  on  the  pile,  it  can  be  done  ;  then  I  should  be  over- 
come. Only  you  must  burn  me  in  a  cunning  way.  Out 

1  Hut. 


A  TALE  OF  THE  DEAD  n 

of  my  belly  snakes,  worms  and  all  sorts  of  reptiles  will 
creep  ;  jackdaws,  magpies  and  crows  will  fly :  you  must 
catch  them  and  throw  them  on  the  pile.  If  a  single 
worm  escapes,  it  will  be  no  good,  for  I  shall  creep  out  into 
that  worm." 

So  the  soldier  listened  and  remembered.  So  they  had 
a  long  talk,  and  at  last  they  came  to  the  grave. 

"  Now,  my  brother,"  said  the  wizard,  "  I  am  going  to 
tear  you  to  bits  ?  otherwise  you  will  tell  the  tale  !  " 

"  Now  !  Let's  argue  this  out !  How  are  you  going 
to  tear  me  to  bits ;  I  am  a  servant  of  God  and  the 
Tsar  !  " 

So  the  wizard  gnashed  his  teeth,  howled,  and  threw 
himself  on  the  soldier.  But  he  drew  out  his  sabre  and 
dealt  a  backstroke.  They  tussled  and  struggled,  and  the 
soldier  was  almost  exhausted.  Ho,  but  this  is  a  sorry 
ending !  Then  the  cocks  crowed  and  the  wizard  fell 
down  breathless. 

The  soldier  got  the  bladders  out  of  the  wizard's 
pockets,  and  went  to  his  relations.  He  went  in  and  he 
greeted  them.  And  they  asked  him,  "  Have  you  ever 
seen  such  a  fearful  stir  ?  " 

"  No,  I  never  have  !  " 

"  Why,  have  you  not  heard  ?  There  is  a  curse  on 
our  village  :  a  wizard  haunts  it." 

So  they  lay  down  and  went  to  sleep. 

In  the  morning  the  soldier  rose  and  began  asking : 
"  Is  it  true  that  there  was  a  wedding  celebrated  here  ?  " 

So  his  kin  answered  him,  "  There  was  a  wedding  at 
the  rich  peasant's  house,  only  the  bride  and  bridegroom 
died  that  same  night.  No,  we  don't  know  at  all  of  what 
they  died." 

"  Where  is  the  house  ?  " 

So  they  showed  him,  and  he  said  never  a  word,  and 
went  there,  got  there,  and  found  the  whole  family  in 
tears. 


I 


iz  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  What  are  you  wailing  for  ?  " 

So  they  told  him  the  reason. 

"  I  can  revive  the  bridal  couple :  what  will  you  give 
me?" 

"  Oh,  you  may  take  half  of  our  possessions." 

So  the  soldier  did  as  the  wizard  had  bidden  him, 
and  he  revived  the  bride  and  bridegroom,  and  grief  wa 
turned  to  joy  and  merriment. 

They  feasted  the  soldier  and  rewarded  him. 

So  he  then  turned  sharp  to  the  left  and  marched  up 
to  the  stdrosta1  and  bade  him  assemble  all  the  peasants 
and  prepare  one  hundred  cartloads  of  aspen  boughs. 
Then  they  brought  the  boughs  into  the  cemetery,  put 
them  into  a  pile  and  raised  the  wizard  out  of  the  grave, 
put  him  on  the  faggots  and  burned  him.  And  then  all 
the  people  stood  around,  some  with  brushes,  shovels  and 
pokers.  The  pile  lit  up  gaily  and  the  wizard  began  to 
burn.  His  belly  burst,  and  out  of  it  crept  snakes,  worms 
and  vermin  of  all  sorts,  and  there  flew  jackdaws  and 
magpies.  But  the  peasants  beat  them  all  into  the  fire 
as  they  came  out,  and  did  not  let  a  single  worm  escape. 
So  the  wizard  was  burned,  and  the  soldier  collected  his 
dust  and  scattered  it  to  the  four  winds.  Henceforth 
there  was  peace  in  the  village. 

And  the  peasants  thanked  the  soldier. 

He  stayed  in  his  country,  stayed  there  until  he  was 
satisfied,  and  then  with  his  money  returned  to  the 
imperial  service :  he  served  his  term,  went  on  the  re- 
tired list,  and  then  lived  out  his  life,  living  happily, 
loving  the  good  things  and  shunning  the  ill. 

1  The  Mayor. 


THE  BEAR,  THE  DOG,  AND  THE  CAT 

ONCE  there  lived  a  peasant  who  had  a  good  dog,  and  as 
the  dog  grew  old  it  left  off  barking  and  guarding  the 
yard  and  the  storehouses :  its  master  would  no  longer 
nourish  it,  so  the  dog  went  into  the  wood  and  lay  under 
a  tree  to  die. 

Then  a  bear  came  up  and  asked  him,  "  Hello,  Dog, 
why  are  you  lying  here  ?  " 

"  I  have  come  to  die  of  hunger.  You  see  how  unjust 
people  are.  As  long  as  you  have  any  strength,  they  feed 
you  and  give  you  drink ;  but  when  your  strength  dies 
away  and  you  become  old  they  drive  you  from  the 
courtyard." 

"  Well,  Dog,  would  you  like  something  to  eat  ?  " 

"  I  certainly  should." 

"  Well,  come  with  me  ;  I  will  feed  you." 

So  they  went  on. 

On  the  way  a  foal  met  them. 

"  Look  at  me,"  said  the  bear,  and  he  began  to  claw 
the  ground  with  his  paws.  "  Dog,  O  dog  !  " 

"  What  do  you  want  ?  " 

"  Look,  are  my  eyes  beautiful  ?  " 

*  Yes,  Bear,  they  are  beautiful." 

So  the  bear  began  clawing  at  the  ground  more  savagely 
still.  "  Dog,  O  dog,  is  my  hair  dishevelled  ?  " 

"  It  is  dishevelled,  Bear." 

"  Dog,  O  dog,  is  my  tail  raised  ?  " 

"  Yes,  it  is  raised." 

Then  the  bear  laid  hold  of  the  foal  by  the  tail,  and 
the  foal  fell  to  the  ground.  The  bear  tore  her  to  pieces 


14  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

and  said,  "  Well,  Dog,  eat  as  much  as  you  will,  and  when 
everything  is  in  order,  come  and  see  me." 

So  the  dog  lived  by  himself  and  had  no  cares,  and 
when  he  had  eaten  all  and  was  again  hungry,  he  ran 
to  the  bear. 

"  Well,  my  brother,  have  you  done  ?  " 

"  Yes,  I  have  done,  and  again  I  am  hungry." 

"  What  !     Are  you  hungry  again  ?      Do  you 
where  your  old  mistress  lives  ?  " 

"  I  do." 

"  Well,  then,  come  ;  I  will  steal  your  mistress's  child 
out  of  the  cradle,  and  do  you  chase  me  away  and  take 
the  child  back.  Then  you  may  go  back  ;  she  will  go  on 
feeding  you,  as  she  formerly  did,  with  bread." 

So  they  agreed,  and  the  bear  ran  up  to  the  hut  himself 
and  stole  the  child  out  of  the  cradle :  the  child  cried, 
and  the  woman  burst  out,  hunted  him,  hunted  him,  but 
could  not  catch  him ;  so  they  came  back,  and  the  mother 
wept,  and  the  other  women  were  afflicted  ;  from  some- 
where or  other  the  dog  appeared,  and  he  drove  the  bear 
away,  took  the  child  and  brought  it  back. 

"  Look,"  said  the  woman,  "  here  is  your  old  dog 
restoring  your  child  !  "  So  they  ran  to  meet  him,  and 
the  mother  was  very  glad  and  joyous.  "  Now,"  she  said, 
"  I  shall  never  discharge  this  old  dog  any  more."  So 
they  took  him  in,  fed  him  with  milk,  gave  him  bread,  and 
asked  him  only  to  taste  the  things.  And  they  told  the 
peasant,  "  Now  you  must  keep  and  feed  the  dog,  for  he 
saved  my  child  from  the  bear  ;  and  you  were  saying  he 
had  no  strength  !  " 

This  all  suited  the  dog  very  well,  and  he  ate  his  fill, 
and  he  said,  "  May  God  grant  health  to  the  bear  who 
did  not  let  me  die  of  hunger  !  "  and  he  became  the  bear's 
best  friend. 

Once  there  was  an  evening  party  given  at  the  peasant's 
house.  At  that  time  the  bear  came  in  as  the  dog's  guest. 


II 


THE  BEAR,  THE  DOG,  AND  THE  CAT   15 

"  Hail,  Dog,  with  what  luck  are  you  meeting  ?     Is  it 
bread  you  are  eating  ?  " 

"  Praise  be  to  God,"  answered  the  dog,  "  it  is  no  mere 
living,  it  is  butter  week.  And  what  are  you  doing  ?  Let 
us  go  into  the  izba.1  The  masters  have  gone  out  for  a 
walk  and  will  not  see  what  you  are  doing.  You  come 
into  the  izba  and  go  and  hide  under  the  stove  as  fast  as 
you  can.  I  will  await  you  there  and  will  recall  you." 

"  Very  well." 

And  so  they  went  into  the  izba.  The  dog  saw  that 
his  master's  guests  had  drunk  too  much,  and  made  ready 
to  receive  his  friend.  The  bear  drank  up  one  glass,  then 
another,  and  broke  it.  The  guests  began  singing  songs, 
and  the  bear  wanted  to  chime  in.  But  the  dog  per- 
suaded him :  "  Do  not  sing,  it  would  only  do  harm." 
But  it  was  no  good,  for  he  could  not  keep  the  bear  silent, 
and  he  began  singing  his  song.  Then  the  guests  heard 
the  noise,  laid  hold  of  a  stick  and  began  to  beat  him. 
He  burst  out  and  ran  away,  and  just  got  away  with  his 
life. 

Now  the  peasant  also  had  a  cat,  which  had  ceased 
catching  mice,  and  even  playing  tricks.  Wherever  it 
might  crawl  it  would  break  something  or  spill  something. 
The  peasant  chased  the  cat  out  of  the  house.  But  the 
dog  saw  that  it  was  going  to  a  miserable  life  without  any 
food,  and  secretly  began  bringing  it  bread  and  butter 
and  feeding  it.  Then  the  mistress  looked  on,  and  as 
soon  as  she  saw  this  she  began  beating  the  dog,  beat  it 
hard,  very  hard,  and  saying  all  the  time,  "  Give  the  cat 
no  beef,  nor  bread." 

Then,  three  days  later,  the  dog  went  to  the  courtyard 
and  saw  that  the  cat  was  dying  of  starvation.  "  What 
is  the  matter  ?  "  he  said. 

"  I  am  dying  of  starvation  :  I  was  able  to  have  enough 
whilst  you  were  feeding  me." 

lHut. 


16  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Come  with  me." 

So  they  went  away.  The  dog  went  on,  until  he 
saw  a  drove  of  horses,  and  he  began  to  scratch  the  earth 
with  his  paws  and  asked  the  cat,  "  Cat,  O  cat,  are  my 
eyes  beautiful  ?  " 

"  No,  they  are  not  beautiful." 

"  Say  that  they  are  beautiful !  " 

So  the  cat  said,  "  They  are  beautiful." 

"  Cat,  O  cat,  is  my  fur  dishevelled  ?  " 

"  No  it  is  not  dishevelled." 

"  Say,  you  idiot,  that  it  is  dishevelled." 

"  Well,  it  is  dishevelled." 

"  Cat,  O  cat,  is  my  tail  raised  ?  " 

"  No,  it  is  not  raised." 

"  Say,  you  fool,  that  it  is  raised."  Then  the  dog 
made  a  dash  at  a  mare,  but  the  mare  kicked  him  back, 
and  the  dog  died. 

So  the  cat  said,  "  Now  I  can  see  that  his  eyes  are  very 
red,  and  his  fur  is  dishevelled,  and  his  tail  is  raised. 
Good-bye,  brother  Dog,  I  will  go  home  to  die." 


EGORI  THE  BRAVE  AND  THE  GIPSY 

IN  a  certain  kingdom,  in  a  certain  land,  there  was  a 
gipsy  who  had  a  wife  and  seven  children,  and  he  lived 
so  poorly  that  at  last  there  was  nothing  in  the  house  to 
eat  or  to  drink — not  even  a  crust  of  bread.  He  was  too 
idle  to  work,  and  too  much  of  a  coward  to  thieve.  So 
what  could  he  do  ? 

Well,  the  peasant  went  on  the  road  and  stood  ponder- 
ing. At  this  time  Egori  the  Brave  was  passing  by. 

"  Hail !  "  said  the  peasant.  "  Whither  are  you 
faring  ?  " 

"  To  God." 

"  Why  ?  " 

"  With  a  message  from  men  wherewith  each  man 
should  live,  and  wherewith  each  man  should  busy  him- 
self." 

"  Will  you,  then,  send  in  a  report  about  me  to  the 
Lord  ?  "  the  peasant  said,  "  what  He  wishes  me  to 
engage  in  ? " 

"  Very  well — I  will  hand  in  a  report,"  Egori  said,  and 
he  went  on  his  road. 

So  there  the  peasant  stood,  waiting  for  him — waiting. 
And  when  at  last  he  saw  Egori  on  his  way  back,  he  asked 
him  at  once :  "  Did  you  hand  in  a  report  about  me  ?  " 

"  No,"  said  Egori ;  "  I  forgot." 

So  the  peasant  set  out  on  his  road  a  second  time,  and 
he  again  met  Egori,  who  was  going  to  God  on  an  errand. 
So  the  gipsy  asked  him  once  more :  "  Do  please  hand  in 
a  request  on  my  behalf." 

"  All  right,"  said  Egori.    And  he  forgot  again, 
c  17 


1 8  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


And  so  once  more  the  peasant  set  out  on  the  road, 
and  once  more  met  Egori.  And  he  asked  him  for  the 
third  time :  "  Do  please  speak  on  my  behalf  to  God  ! 

«  Yes— all  right !  " 

"  Will  you  forget  again  ?  " 

"  No,  I  shall  not  forget  this  time." 

Only  the  gipsy  did  not  believe  him.    "  Give  me," 
said,  "  your  golden  stirrup.    I  will  keep  it  until  you  come 
back  ;  otherwise,  you  may  once  more  forget." 

Egori  untied  his  golden  stirrup,  gave  it  to  the  gipsy, 
and  rode  on  farther  with  a  single  stirrup.  Then  he 
reached  God,  and  he  began  to  ask  wherewith  each  man 
should  live,  and  wherewith  each  man  should  busy  him- 
self. In  each  case  he  received  the  right  order,  and  he 
was  starting  back.  But  as  soon  as  ever  he  mounted,  he 
glanced  down  at  the  stirrup  and  recollected  the  gipsy. 
So  he  ran  back  to  see  God  and  said :  "  Oh,  I  forgot. 
Whilst  I  was  coming  here  I  met  a  gipsy  on  the  way,  and 
he  asked  me  what  he  should  do."  "  Oh,  tell  the  gipsy," 
the  Lord  said,  "  that  his  trade  is  from  whomsoever  he 
take  and  steal,  he,  then,  shall  cheat  and  perjure  himself." 

So  Egori  went  and  mounted  his  horse,  came  up  to  the 
gipsy,  and  told  him  :  "  I  shall  now  tell  you  the  truth.    If  ' 
you  had  not  taken  the  stirrup,  I  should  have  forgotten 
all  about  it." 

"  I  thought  as  much,"  said  the  gipsy.  "  Now,  for  all 
eternity,  you  cannot  forget  me  if  you  only  look  down  at 
your  stirrup,  and  I  shall  be  always  in  your  mind.  Well, 
what  did  the  Lord  say  to  you  ?  " 

"  Oh,  He  told  me  from  whomsoever  you  take  or  steal 
you  will  cheat  and  perjure  yourself ;  that  will  be  your 
trade." 

"  Thank  you  very  much,"  said  the  gipsy,  and  he 
bowed  down  to  the  ground,  and  went  home. 

"  Where  are  you  going  ?  "  said  Egori.  "  Give  me  my 
golden  stirrup  !  " 


EGORI  THE  BRAVE  AND  THE  GIPSY      19 

"  What  stirrup  ?  " 

"  Didn't  you  take  one  from  me  ?  " 

"  How  in  the  world  could  I  take  one  from  you  ?  This 
is  the  first  time  I  have  seen  you,  and  I  have  not  even  had 
a  stirrup.  Before  God  ! — I  never  have  !  "  And  so  the 
gipsy  perjured  himself. 

What  could  he  do  ?  He  could  struggle  and  fight  it 
out,  Egori  could,  and  so  he  did  ;  but  it  was  all  no  good. 
It  is  perfectly  true,  and  the  gipsy  spoke  the  truth :  "  If 
I  had  not  given  him  the  stirrup  ! — if  I  had  not  only 
known  him  !  Now  I  shall  forget  him  no  more." 

So  the  gipsy  took  the  golden  stirrup  and  began  hawking 
it.  And  as  he  went  on  his  way,  a  fine  lord  came  and  met 
him.  "  Hullo,  gipsy  !  "  he  said.  "  Will  you  sell  the 
stirrup  ?  " 

"  Yes— all  right !  " 

"  What  will  you  take  ?  " 

"  Fifteen  hundred  roubles." 

"  Much  too  dear,  isn't  that  ?  " 

"  Well,  you  see,  it  is  all  gold." 

"  Very  well !  "  said  his  lordship  ;  and  he  put  his 
hand  into  his  pocket,  and  he  only  had  a  thousand.  "  You 
just  take  this  thousand,  gipsy,  and  then  give  me  the 
stirrup :  I  will  send  you  on  the  odd  five  hundred." 

'  Oh,  no,  my  lord  !  One  thousand  roubles  I  will  cer- 
tainly take,  but  I  shall  not  give  up  the  stirrup.  When 
you  carry  out  your  part  of  the  bargain,  then  you  shall 
receive  the  stirrup."  So  the  lord  gave  him  the  thousand, 
and  he  went  home. 

The  very  instant  he  got  there  he  took  out  five  hundred 
roubles,  and  sent  his  man  up  to  the  gipsy,  telling  him  to 
give  the  money  to  him  and  to  take  the  golden  stirrup. 

When  his  lordship's  groom  came  to  the  gipsy's  izba,1 
"  Hail,  gipsy  !  "  he  said.     "  How  fare  you,  good  man  ? 
1 1  have  brought  you  the  money  from  his  lordship." 

1  Hut. 


20  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Well,  give  it  me  if  you  have  brought  it."  So  the 
gipsy  took  the  five  hundred  roubles,  and  gave  the  man 
a  glass  of  wine,  and  then  another,  until  the  man  had 
his  fill. 

And  when  he  had  had  his  fill  the  groom  began  to  make 
his  way  home,  and  said  to  the  peasant :  "  Now  give  me 
the  golden  stirrup." 

"  What  ?  " 

"  Yes — the  stirrup  which  you  sold  my  master." 

"  What,  /  sold  it !    I  never  had  a  golden  stirrup  !  " 

"  Well,  then,  give  me  the  money  back." 

"  What  money  ?  " 

"  But  I  just  gave  you  five  hundred  roubles !  " 

"  I  have  not  even  seen  a  grivennik1 — never  in  my  life  ! 
I  looked  after  you  kindly,  simply  for  the  sake  of  our  Lord, 
and  not  in  the  least  in  order  to  get  any  money  out  of 
you."  And  in  this  manner  the  gipsy  had  disavowed 
everything. 

When  the  master  had  heard  of  this,  he  instantly 
started  out  to  see  the  gipsy.  "  What  on  earth  do  you 
mean,  you  vile  thief,  by  taking  money  and  not  giving 
up  the  golden  stirrup  ?  " 

"  What  golden  stirrup  ?  Now  do,  my  lord,  think  a 
little.  How  is  it  possible  for  a  grey,  hoary  old  peasant 
like  me  to  possess  a  golden  stirrup  ?  " 

Then  the  master  became  angrier  and  angrier,  but  hei 
could  not  find  it.  "  Well,  we  will  come  to  court !  "  he! 
said. 

"  Oh,  please,"  the  gipsy  answered,  "  please  think  I 
How  in  the  world  can  I  come  in  your  company  ?  You 
are  a  lord,  and  I  am  only  a  blockhead — I  am  only  a  dolt 
and  a  mere  hind.  At  least  you  might  dress  me  in  a  fine 
costume  if  we  are  to  go  together."  So  the  master  dressed 
him  in  his  own  dress,  and  they  journeyed  together  to  the 
town  for  the  case  to  be  tried. 

1  Ten  kopeks. 


EGORI  THE  BRAVE  AND  THE  GIPSY      21 


When  they  came  into  the  town,  the  master  said :  "  I 
bought  of  this  peasant  a  golden  stirrup.  He  took  the 
money  for  it  and  will  not  deliver  the  chattel." 

And  the  peasant  answered :  "  My  Lords  Justices,  do 
you  think  it  out  for  yourselves,  however  could  one  get  a 
golden  stirrup  out  of  a  grey-haired  peasant  ?  Why,  I 
have  not  a  single  loaf  at  home.  And  I  really  cannot 
imagine  what  this  fine  gentleman  wants  of  me.  Why, 
he  will  even  be  saying  next  that  I  am  wearing  his  clothes." 

"  But  the  dress  is  mine  !  "  the  master  shrieked  out. 

"  There  you  are,  my  Lords  Justices !  " 

After  this  the  case  came  to  an  end,  and  the  master 
went  back  home  without  getting  anything,  and  the  pea- 
sant went  on  living  merrily — living  on  and  gaining 
nothing  but  good. 


DANILO  THE  UNFORTUNATE 

GOOD  Prince  Vladimir  had  many  henchmen  and  serfs 
in  the  city  of  Kiev,  and  amongst  them  there  was  Danilo 
the  Unfortunate,  the  noble.  And  on  Sundays  Prince 
Vladimir  used  to  give  all  his  servants  goblets  filled  with 
wine,  but  Danilo  good  hard  blows  ;  and  on  great  feast 
days  every  one  was  sated,  but  Danilo  had  nothing. 

On  the  eve  of  Easter  Sunday  Prince  Vladimir  sum- 
moned Danilo  the  Unfortunate,  and  he  gave  him  eighty 
score  of  sable  skins,  and  he  bade  him  sew  a  shuba1  for 
the  feast :  the  sable  skins  were  not  prepared,  and  the 
buttons  had  not  been  moulded,  and  the  buttonholes 
had  not  been  made.  In  the  buttons  he  was  bidden 
mould  the  wild  beasts  of  the  wood  and  to  sew  into  the 
buttonholes  all  the  seabirds. 

Danilo  the  Unfortunate  loathed  the  task,  so  he  hurled 
it  away,  and  he  went  outside.  He  went  out  on  his  road 
and  way,  and  shed  tears.  An  old  woman  came  to  meet  him. 
"  Look,  Danilo,"  she  said,  "  do  not  rend  yourself  asunder : 
why  are  you  crying,  Danilo  the  Unfortunate  ?  " 

"  Oh,  you  old  fatty  !  "  he  exclaimed,  "  shivers  and 
shakes,  quivers  and  quakes  !  Be  off  !  this  has  nothing 
to  do  with  you  !  "  Then  he  went  on  a  little  way  and 
thought,  "  Why  did  I  bid  her  remove  ?  "  So  he  ap- 
proached her  again  and  said,  "  Babushka?  little  dove, 
forgive  me :  this  is  my  trouble.  Prince  Vladimir  has 
given  me  eighty  score  of  sable  skins,  of  which  I  am  to 
make  a  shuba  in  the  morning.  If  only  the  buttons  had 
been  moulded  and  the  silken  buttonholes  sewn  !  Biitj 
1  Fur  mantle.  *  Grandmother. 


22 


DANlLO  THE  UNFORTUNATE  23 

there  are  to  be  lions  moulded  on  to  the  buttons,  and 
there  are  to  be  shepherds  embroidered  on  to  the  button- 
holes that  should  have  sung  and  warbled.  How  am  I  to 
set  about  it  ?  It  would  be  better  for  me  to  drink  vodka 
behind  the  counter." 

Then  the  old  woman,  with  her  patched  skirt,  said, 
"  Oh,  I  am  now  '  Babushka '  and  your  '  little  dove  '  ! 
Do  you  go  to  the  border  of  the  blue  sea,  and  stand  in 
front  of  the  grey  oak :  at  the  hour  of  midnight  the  blue 
sea  will  boil  over  and  Chudo-Yuda,  the  Old  Man  of  the 
Sea,  will  come  out  to  you  :  he  has  no  hands,  no  feet,  and 
he  has  a  grey  beard.  Take  hold  of  him  by  his  beard  and 
beat  him  until  he  asks  you,  (  Why  do  you  beat  me, 
Danilo  the  Unfortunate  ? '  Then  you  are  to  answer, 
'  I  am  beating  you  for  this  reason :  let  me  see  the 
Swan,1  the  fair  maiden  ;  let  her  body  glint  through  her 
wings,  and  through  her  body  let  her  bones  appear,  and 
from  bone  to  bone  let  the  marrow  run  like  a  flowing 
string  of  pearls.' ' 

Then  Danilo  the  Unfortunate  went  to  the  blue  sea, 
and  he  stood  in  front  of  the  dusky  oak :  and  at  mid- 
night the  blue  sea  was  disturbed  and  Chudo-Yuda,  the 
Old  Man  of  the  Sea,  appeared  before  him.  He  had  no 
hands,  he  had  no  feet,  and  his  beard  was  grey.  Danilo 
seized  him  by  his  beard  and  began  to  beat  him  on  to 
the  grey  earth.  Then  at  last  Chudo-Yuda  asked  him : 
"  Why  do  you  beat  me,  Danilo  the  Unfortunate  ?  " 
"  For  this  reason  :  let  me  see  the  Swan,  the  fair  maiden  ; 
let  her  body  glint  through  her  wings,  and  through  her 
body  let  her  bones  appear,  and  from  bone  to  bone  let 
the  marrow  run  like  a  flowing  string  of  pearls." 

Very  soon  the  Swan,  the  fair  maiden,  swam  up  to  the 
shore,  and  she  spoke  in  this  wise  : 

"  Is  it  work  on  your  way, 
Or  for  sloth  do  you  stay  ?  " 

1  Another  variant,  "  the  Fearsome  Swan." 


24  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Oh,  Swan,  fair  maiden,  I  have  a  double  task :  Prince 
Vladimir  has  bidden  me  sew  a  shuba,  and  the  sables  are 
not  prepared,  the  buttons  are  not  moulded,  and  the 
buttonholes  are  not  sewn." 

"  You  take  me  with  you,  and  it  will  all  be  done  in 


time." 


Then  he  began  to  think  in  his  thoughts,  "  How  shall 
I  take  her  with  me  ?  " 

"  Now,  Danilo,  what  are  you  thinking  ?  " 

"  I  must  do  as  you  say :   I  will  take  you  with  me." 

So  she  flapped  her  wings,  and  she  moved  her  little 
head,  and  said,  "  Turn  to  me  with  your  white  face  ;  we 
will  build  for  ourselves  a  princely  house.  Shake  your 
locks,  that  our  house  may  have  rooms."  Then  twelve 
youths  appeared,  all  of  them  carpenters,  sawyers,  stone- 
hewers  ;  and  they  set  to  work,  and  the  house  was  soon 
ready. 

Then  Danilo  took  her  by  her  right  hand,  and  he 
kissed  her  on  her  sweet  lips,  and  he  led  her  into  the 
princely  home.  They  sat  down  at  a  table,  ate  and  drank. 
They  refreshed  themselves,  and  their  hands  met  at  one 
table.  "  Now,  Danilo,  go  to  rest  and  to  bed  ;  think  of 
nothing  else  ;  it  will  all  be  done."  So  she  laid  him  to 
sleep  and  herself  went  out  to  the  crystal  flight  of  steps. 
And  she  waved  her  pinions  and  she  shook  her  little  head  : 
"  My  father,"  she  cried,  "  send  me  your  craftsmen  !  " 

And  the  twelve  youths  appeared  and  asked,  "  Swan- 
bird,  fair  maiden,  what  do  you  bid  us  do  ?  " 

"  Sew  me  this  shuba  at  once :  the  sables  are  not  pre- 
pared, the  buttons  are  not  moulded,  the  buttonholes 


are  not  sewn." 


So  they  set  to  work :  one  of  them  made  the  sables 
ready  and  sewed  the  shuba,  one  of  them  worked  the 
forge  and  moulded  the  buttons,  and  one  of  them  sewed 
the  buttonholes,  and  in  a  minute,  wondrously,  the  shuba 
was  made. 


DANILO  THE  UNFORTUNATE  25 

Then  the  Swan-bird,  the  fair  maiden,  came  up  and 
woke  Danilo  the  Unfortunate :  "  Arise,  my  dear  friend, 
the  shuba  is  ready,  and  the  church-bells  are  ringing  in 
the  city  of  Kiev :  it  is  time  for  you  to  arise  and  to  pre- 
pare for  matins." 

Danilo  arose,  put  on  the  shuba,  and  went :  she  looked 
out  of  the  window,  stayed,  gave  him  a  silver  staff,  and 
bade  him,  "  When  you  leave  matins,  stand  on  the  right 
side  of  the  choir  as  the  choir  leave,  raise  your  hands  and 
strike  the  sable  shuba,  and  the  birds  will  sing  joyously 
and  the  lions  roar  fearsomely.  Then  take  the  shuba 
from  your  shoulders  and  array  Prince  Vladimir  at  that 
instant,  lest  he  forget  us.  He  will  then  summon  you 
as  a  guest,  and  will  give  you  a  glass  of  wine.  Do  not 
drink  the  glass  to  the  bottom :  if  you  drink  it  to  the 
bottom  no  good  will  befall  you  ;  and  do  not  boast  of 
me :  do  not  boast  that  we  built  a  house  together  in  a 
single  night." 

Danilo  took  the  silver  staff  and  hied  away,  and  she 
again  stayed  him  on  his  course,  and  she  gave  him  three 
little  eggs,  two  of  silver,  one  of  gold,  and  said,  "  With 
the  silver  eggs  give  the  Easter  greeting  to  the  Prince  and 
the  Princess,  but  the  golden  one  keep  and  live  your  life 
along  with  it." 

Danilo  the  Unfortunate  bade  farewell  to  her  and 
went  to  matins.  All  the  people  wondered.  "  Look 
what  a  fine  man  Danilo  the  Unfortunate  has  become : 
he  has  made  the  shuba  and  he  has  brought  it  with  him 
for  the  feast." 

After  the  Mass,  he  went  up  to  the  Prince  and  Princess, 
and  he  gave  them  the  Easter  greeting,  but  carelessly 
took  out  the  golden  egg.  Alyosha  Popovich  saw  this,  the 
Mocker  of  Women.  As  they  went  out  of  the  church, 
Danilo  the  Unfortunate  struck  himself  on  the  breast 
with  the  silver  staff,  and  the  birds  sang  and  the  lions 
roared  ;  and  all  the  folk  were  amazed  and  gazed  at 


26  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Danilo.  But  Alyosha  Popovich,  the  Mocker  of  Women, 
dressed  himself  as  a  sorry  beggar  and  asked  for  holy  alms. 
They  all  gave  to  him  ;  only  Danilo  the  Unfortunate 
alone  said  and  thought,  "  What  shall  I  give  him  ?  I 
have  nothing  to  give."  So,  as  it  was  Easter  Day,  he  gave 
him  the  golden  egg.  Alyosha  Popovich  took  that  golden 
egg  and  changed  into  his  former  garb. 

Prince  Vladimir  summoned  them  all  to  him,  all  to  his 
palace  to  dessert :  so  they  ate  and  drank  and  were  re- 
freshed, and  they  exalted  themselves.  Danilo  drank 
until  he  was  drunk  ;  and,  when  he  was  drunk,  made  boast 
of  his  wife.  Alyosha  Popovich  bragged  at  the  feast 
that  he  knew  Danilo's  wife.  Bur  Danilo  said,  "  If  you 
know  my  wife  you  may  cut  off  my  head ;  and,  if  you  do 
not  know  her,  you  shall  forfeit  your  own." 

So  Alyosha  Popovich,  the  Mocker  of  Women,  went 
whither  his  eyes  might  go,  and  he  went  and  wept. 

Then  the  old  woman  met  him  on  his  way  and  asked, 
"  Why  are  you  weeping,  Alyosha  Popovich  ?  " 

"  Go  away,  old  woman  with  the  swollen  belly  ;  I  have 
naught  to  do  with  you." 

"  Yet  I  shall  be  of  service  to  you." 

Then  he  began  to  ask  her,  "  O  my  own  grandmother, 
what  did  you  wish  to  tell  me  ?  " 

"  Ha  !   am  I  now  your  own  grandmother  ?  >: 

"  O,  I  was  boasting  I  knew  Danilo's  wife  !  " 

"  O  bdtyushka^  how  do  you  know  her :  was  there 
any  little  bird  that  told  you  ?  Do  you  go  up  to  a  certain 
house  and  invite  her  to  feast  with  the  Prince.  She  will 
wash  herself,  busk  herself,  and  put  a  little  chain  out  of 
the  window.  You  take  that  chain  and  show  it  to  Danilo 
the  Unfortunate." 

So  Alyosha  Popovich,  the  Mocker  of  Women,  went  to 
the  window  jamb,  and  called  the  Swan-bird,  the  fair 
maiden,  to  dine  with  the  Prince.  She  was  starting  to 

1  Little  Father. 


DANILO  THE  UNFORTUNATE  27 

wash  herself,  busk  herself,  and  make  ready  for  the  feast, 
and  that  moment  Alyosha  Popovich  seized  her  little 
chain,  ran  up  into  the  palace,  and  showed  it  to  Danilo 
the  Unfortunate. 

So  Prince  Vladimir  said  to  Danilo  the  Unfortunate, 
"  I  see  now  that  you  must  forfeit  your  head." 

"  Let  me  go  home  and  bid  farewell  to  my  wife."  So 
he  went  home  and  said,  "  O  fair  Swan-maiden,  what 
have  I  done  ?  I  became  drunk  and  I  bragged  of  you 
and  have  lost  my  life." 

"  I  know  it  all,  Danilo  the  Unfortunate.  Go,  summon 
the  Prince  and  Princess  here  as  your  guests,  and  all  the 
burghers  and  generals  and  field-marshals  and  boydrs." 

"  But  the  Prince  will  not  come  out  in  the  mud  and  the 
mire  !  "  (For  the  roads  were  bad,  and  the  blue  sea 
became  stormy  ;  the  marshes  surged  and  opened.) 

"  You  are  to  tell  him :  '  Have  no  fear,  Prince  Vladimir  : 
across  the  rivers  have  been  built  hazel-tree  bridges,  the 
transoms  are  of  oak  covered  with  cloth  of  purple  and 
with  nails  of  tin.  The  shoes  of  the  doughty  warrior 
will  not  be  soiled,  nor  will  the  hoofs  of  his  horse  be 
smeared.' ' 

So  Danilo  the  Unfortunate  invited  them  as  guests ; 
and  the  Swan-bird,  the  fair  maiden,  stepped  out  to  her 
window,  flapped  her  wings,  shook  her  little  head,  and 
there  was  a  bridge  laid  from  her  house  to  the  palace  of 
Prince  Vladimir.  It  was  covered  with  cloth  of  purple, 
tacked  in  with  tacks  of  tin  ;  and  on  one  side  flowers  grew, 
nightingales  sang,  and  on  the  other  side  apple-trees  and 
fruits  bloomed  and  ripened. 

The  Prince  and  Princess  made  ready  to  be  guests,  and 
they  set  out  on  their  journey  with  all  their  noble  host 
with  them,  crossed  the  first  river,  which  ran  with  splendid 
beer.  And  very  many  soldiers  fell  down  by  that  beer. 
Then  they  advanced  to  the  second  river,  which  ran  with 
wonderful  mead,  and  more  than  half  of  the  brave  host 


28  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

bent  down  to  drink  the  mead  and  rolled  on  their  sides. 
So  they  came  to  the  third  river,  which  ran  with  glorious 
wine.  Here  all  the  officers  bent  down  and  drank  till 
they  were  drunk.  At  the  fourth  river  powerful  vodka 
flowed.  And  the  Prince  looked  backwards :  all  of  his 
generals  were  lying  on  their  backs.  Only  the  Prince  was 
left  with  three  companions — with  the  Princess,  Alyosha 
Popovich,  the  Mocker  of  Women,  and  Danilo  the  Un- 
fortunate. 

Then  the  invited  guests  arrived,  and  they  entered  into 
the  lofty  palace :  there  were  tables  standing,  and  the 
tablecloths  were  of  silk,  and  the  chairs  painted  with 
many  colours.  They  sat  down  at  the  tables :  there  were 
all  sorts  of  dishes  and  of  foreign  drinks.  There  were 
no  bottles,  no  mere  pints — entire  rivers  flowed  !  Prince 
Vladimir  and  the  Princess  drank  nothing,  tasted  nothing, 
only  looked  on.  When  would  the  Swan,  the  fair  maiden, 
come  out  ?  And  they  sat  long  at  the  table,  waited  for 
her  long,  until  it  was  time  to  go  home.  Danilo  the 
Unfortunate  called  her  once,  and  twice,  and  a  third 
time,  but  she  would  not  come  and  see  her  guests. 

Alyosha  Popovich,  the  Mocker  of  Women,  then  said, 
"  If  this  had  been  my  wife  I  should  have  taught  her  to 
obey  !  " 

Then  the  Swan-bird,  the  fair  maiden,  came  out  and 
stood  at  the  window,  and  she  said  these  words :  "  This 
is  how  we  teach  our  husbands  !  "  And  so  she  flapped 
her  wings,  moved  her  little  head,  and  flew  about :  and 
there  the  guests  sat  on  mounds  in  the  bog. 

One  way  the  waters  tossed, 

On  the  other  lay  woe, 
On  the  third  side  naught  but  moss, 

On  the  fourth  side — Oh  ! 

"  Get  up,  Prince,  and  avaunt !  Let  Danilo  sit  at  the 
head  of  the  table." 


DANILO  THE  UNFORTUNATE  29 

So  they  went  back  all  the  way  to  their  palace,  and  they 
were  covered  with  mud  from  head  to  foot. 


I  myself  then  should  have  liked  to  see  the  Prince  and 
Princess ;  and  they  were  just  poking  their  heads  out  of 
the  door,  but,  whilst  it  was  opening,  I  slipped  and  fell 
down  flat. 


THE  SORRY  DRUNKARD 

ONCE  there  lived  an  old  man,  and  he  was  such  a  sorry 
drunkard  as  words  cannot  describe.  He  used  to  go  to 
the  drinking-booth,  drink  green  wine,  and  crawl  away 
home  through  the  hops.  And  his  road  lay  across  a 
river. 

When  he  came  to  the  river,  he  did  not  dally  to  think  ; 
but  slipped  off  his  boots,  hung  them  on  his  head,  and 
wandered  at  ease  till  he  came  into  the  middle,  stumbled 
and  fell  into  the  water,  and  was  heard  of  no  more. 

But  he  had  a  son,  Ugly  Peter,  Petrusha.  When 
Petrusha  saw  that  his  father  had  vanished  utterly,  he 
became  melancholy,  and  wept,  had  a  Requiem  Mass 
sung  for  his  soul,  and  began  to  adminster  the  property. 

One  day,  on  a  Sunday,  he  went  to  church  to  pray  to 
God.  As  he  was  going  on  his  way,  in  front  of  him  there 
was  a  woman  crawling  along,  going  slowly,  slowly, 
stumbling  on  the  reeds,  and  scolding  hard :  "  What  the 
devil  knocks  you  against  me  !  " 

Petrusha  heard  her  ugly  language,  and  said :  "  Good- 
day,  Auntie  ;  where  are  you  going  ?  " 

"  I  am  off  to  church,  Gossip,  to  pray  to  God." 

"  But  is  not  it  very  sinful  of  you,  going  to  church  to 
pray  to  God,  and  then  invoking  the  Unholy  Spirit  ? 
You  stumbled,  and  then  invoked  the  devil ! " 

Well,  he  went  on,  and  he  heard  Mass,  and  went  on 
and  on  ;  and  suddenly,  from  somewhere  or  other,  there 
stood  in  front  of  him  a  fine  youth  who  bowed  down  to 
him  and  said :  "  Thank  you,  Petrusha,  for  your  good 
word." 

30 


THE  SORRY  DRUNKARD  31 

"  What  are  you  ?  Why  do  you  thank  me  ?  "  Petrusha 
asked. 

"  Oh,  I  am  the  Devil,  and  I  am  thanking  you  because 
when  the  old  woman  was  stumbling  along  and  barking 
at  me  uselessly,  you  put  in  a  good  word  for  me."  And 
he  began  to  beseech  him :  "  Do  come,  Petrusha,  and  be 
my  guest,  and  I  will  give  you  a  reward — gold  and  silver 
— all  you  wish." 

"  All  right  !  "  said  Petrusha  ;  "  I  will  come." 

And  the  Devil  gave  him  his  directions,  and  instantly 
vanished,  and  Petrusha  went  back  home. 

Next  day  Petrusha  went  to  pay  a  visit  to  the  Devil — 
went  on  and  went  on  for  three  whole  days ;  and  he  got 
into  a  deep  wood — into  the  dreary  and  darksome  forest 
where  he  could  not  see  the  sky.  And  in  that  forest 
there  stood  a  rich  palace  ;  and  when  he  came  to  the 
palace,  a  fair  maiden  saw  him.  She  had  been  stolen  from 
a  village  by  the  Unholy  Spirit.  She  saw  him  and  asked  : 
"  Why  have  you  come  here,  doughty  youth  ?  Here  the 
devils  live,  and  they  will  tear  you  to  tatters." 

Petrusha  told  her  how  and  why  he  had  come  to  this 
palace. 

"  Well,  look  you  to  it,"  the  fair  maiden  said  ;  "  the 
devils  are  going  to  give  you  gold  and  silver — do  not  take 
any  of  it.  Only  ask  them  to  give  you  the  sorry  horse 
on  which  the  unholy  spirits  load  their  fuel  and  water. 
This  horse  is  your  father.  When  he  got  drunk  and 
fell  into  the  water,  the  devils  instantly  got  hold  of 
him,  turned  him  into  a  horse,  and  now  he  serves  as 
the  beast  of  burden  to  carry  their  wood  and  water  for 
them." 

Then  that  same  youth  came  forward  who  had  invited 
Petrusha  to  pay  him  a  visit,  and  he  began  to  entertain 
him  with  all  sorts  of  sweetmeats  and  drinks.  Then  the 
time  came  for  Petrusha's  departure  home. 

"  As  a  parting  gift,"  the  Devil  said  to  him,  "  I  will 


32  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

give  you  money,  and  a  splendid  horse,  and  you  shall  ride 
home  royally." 

"  This  is  of  no  use  to  me,"  Petrusha  answered.  "  But 
if  you  will  give  me  anything,  give  me  that  sorry  jade- 
that  battered  jade  which  carries  your  wood  and  water." 

"  Whatever  use  is  that  sorry  nag  to  you  ?  Why,  you 
will  hardly  get  home  on  it !  Why,  it  tumbles  down  if 
you  look  at  it !  " 

"  I  don't  mind  about  that ;  give  it  to  me ;  it  is  the 
only  thing  I  will  take." 

So  the  devils  gave  him  the  sorry  jade.  Petrusha  took 
it  and  led  it  out  to  the  entrance.  As  soon  as  he  was  at 
the  outside,  he  met  the  fair  maiden,  who  asked :  "  Have 
you  got  the  horse  ?  " 

"  Yes,  I  have." 

"Then,  fair  youth,  when  you  arrive  at  your  village, 
take  the  cross  off  from  your  neck  and  pass  it  round  the 
horse  three  times,  and  then  hang  the  cross  on  its  head." 

Petrusha  bowed  down  to  her,  and  set  on  his  way ; 
and  he  arrived  at  his  village,  and  did  all  the  maiden  had 
commanded :  took  his  copper  cross  from  his  neck, 
passed  it  three  times  round  the  horse,  and  hung  the  cross 
on  its  head.  And  all  at  once  it  was  the  horse  no  longer  ; 
but,  instead,  became  his  own  father. 

The  son  looked  at  the  father,  shed  hot  tears,  and  took 
him  into  his  own  izba.1  The  old  man  lived  for  three 
days  without  speaking,  and  could  not  unseal  his  tongue. 
After  that,  they  lived  on  in  all  good  luck  and  happiness. 

The  old  man  altogether  forsook  being  drunk ;  and  to 
his  last  day  not  a  drop  of  wine  passed  his  lips. 

»  Hut. 


THE  WOLF  AND  THE  TAILOR 

IOWA-* 


THIS  story  is  a  story  of  the  past  —  of  the  days  when  Christ 
and  the  Twelve  Apostles  still  walked  on  earth.1 


One  day  they  were  still  on  their  road,  going  on  a  long, 
long  road,  and  a  wolf  met  them  and  said :  "  Lord,  I  am 
feeling  hungry."  ^^  Pe-OJ^cuOK 

"  Go,"  Christ  said  to  him,  "  and  eat  a  mare." 

So  the  wolf  went  to  look  for  a  mare. 

And  he  saw  her  going  up  and  down,  and  said  :  "  Mare, 
the  Lord  has  bidden  me  eat  you  !  " 

So  she  answered :  "  Well,  please  do  not  eat  me — it  is 
not  the  proper  thing.  But  I  have  a  passport  on  me  ; 
only  it  is  driven  in  very  hard." 

:<  Well,  show  it  me." 

"  Just  come  near  my  hind  feet  !  " 

So  the  wolf  went  up,  and  she  kicked  him  with  her 
hoofs,  and  knocked  out  his  front  teeth,  so  that  the 
wolf  was  thrown,  at  a  blow,  three  sazhens2  away,  and  the 
mare  ran  off. 

Back  the  wolf  came  with  a  petition,  met  Christ,  and 
said :  "  Lord,  the  mare  almost  killed  me  !  " 

;'  Well,  go  on  and  eat  the  ram." 

So  the  wolf  ran  up  to  the  ram — ran  up  and  said : 
"  Ram,  I  am  going  to  eat  you — it  is  the  command  of  the 
Lord." 

"  Well,  come  and  eat  me  up  if  you  will.    I  will  stand 

1  This  is  a  simple  instance  of  the  priskazka  or  preface  to  a  story. 
*  A  sazhht  is  seven  feet. 

D  33 


34  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

on  the  hill,  and  will  jump  up  into  your  mouth  all 
ready." 

So  the  wolf  stood  on  the  hill,  and  the  ram  told  him  to 
open  his  mouth.  So  the  wolf  went  and  stood  on  the 
hill  and  opened  his  mouth  for  the  food,  and  the  ram 
ran  down  and  hit  him  hard  with  the  horns  on  his  fore- 
head— whack  !  The  wolf  was  knocked  off  his  feet,  and 
the  ram  went  away.  And  the  wolf  got  up,  looked  all 
round,  and  there  was  never  a  sign  of  the  ram. 

So  he  went  up  with  another  complaint.  And  he  found 
Christ  and  said :  "  Lord,  even  the  ram  has  deceived  me. 
Why,  it  almost  knocked  me  to  bits." 

"  All  right !  "  said  Christ,  "  go  and  eat  the  tailor." 

So  the  wolf  ran  up,  and  he  met  a  tailor  on  the  way. 
"  Tailor,"  he  said,  "  I  am  going  to  eat  you,  by  command 
of  the  Lord." 

"  All  right.  Let  me  say  good-bye — I  should  like  to 
greet  my  kin." 

"  No,  I  cannot  let  you  say  good-bye  with  your  kin." 

"  Well,  I  cannot  help  it — it  must  be  so.  Come  and 
eat  me  up.  Only  at  least  let  me  take  your  measurements. 
I  only  want  to  see  whether  I  shall  slip  in  easily." 

"  All  right ! — measure  away,"  said  the  wolf. 

So  the  tailor  went  back,  took  hold  of  the  wolf  by  his 
tail,  twined  his  tail  round  in  his  hand,  and  began  to 
whip  the  wolf.  And  the  wolf  struggled  and  tussled, 
roared  and  shrieked,  and  tore  until  he  tore  his  tail  loose, 
and  he  then  took  to  his  feet.  So  he  ran  away  with  all  of 
his  might,  and  he  met  seven  other  wolves.  They  said : 
"  Why  are  you,  grey  wolf,  tailless  \  " 

"  Oh,  the  tailor  tore  it  out." 

"  Where  is  the  tailor  ?  " 

"  You  see  him  there,  on  the  road." 

"  All  right — we  will  hunt  after  him."  And  they 
started  after  the  tailor. 

When  the  tailor  heard  the  chase  coming  after  him, 


THE  WOLF  AND  THE  TAILOR  35 

and  saw  that  it  was  a  disagreeable  business,  he  scaled  up 
a  tree  as  fast  as  he  could.  So  the  wolves  arrived  there 
and  said :  "  We  will  stop  here,  brothers,  and  wait  until 
the  tailor  comes  down.  Do  you,  manx-wolf,  stop  below, 
and  we  will  each  of  us  climb  on  the  other's  shoulders." 
So  the  manx-wolf  lay  at  the  bottom,  and  all  the  seven 
wolves  went  after  the  others  and  climbed  up. 

When  the  tailor  saw  his  ill-fate  coming  so  near  him, 
for  they  were  nearer  and  nearer,  he  cried  out  to  the  top 
one :  "  It  is  nobody's  fault,  only  the  manx-wolf's  !  " 
So  the  manx-wolf  was  frightened,  and  jumped  out  from 
below  and  ran  off.  All  the  seven  wolves  tumbled  down 
and  chased  after  him,  caught  him  up,  and  tore  him  to 
bits.  But  the  tailor  slid  down  the  tree  and  went  back 
home. 


THE    TALE    OF    THE    SILVER    SAUCER    AND 
THE   CRYSTAL   APPLE 

ONCE  a  peasant  lived  with  his  wife,  and  they  had  three 
daughters :  two  were  finely  dressed  and  clever,  but  the 
third  was  a  simple  girl ;  the  sisters  and  the  father  and 
mother  as  well  called  her  the  Little  Fool.  They  hustled 
the  Little  Fool,  thrust  her  about  this  way  and  that  and 
forced  her  to  work.  She  never  said  a  word  and  was 
always  ready  to  weed  the  grass,  break  off  lamp-splinters, 
feed  the  cows  and  ducks,  and  whatever  anybody  asked 
for  the  Little  Fool  would  bring.  They  had  only  to  say, 
"  Fool,  go  and  fetch  this !  "  or  "  Fool,  come  and  look 
here  !  " 

One  day  the  peasant  went  with  his  hay  to  the  fair, 
and  he  asked  his  daughters,  "  What  shall  I  bring  you 
as  your  fairing  ?  " 

One  daughter  asked,  "  Buy  me  some  red  cloth  for  a 
sarafan.  The  other  asked,  "  Buy  me  some  scarlet 
nankin."  But  the  Fool  sat  still  and  said  nothing. 

Well,  after  all,  the  Fool  was  his  daughter,  and  her 
father  felt  sorry  for  her,  so  he  asked  her,  "  What  would 
you  like  to  have,  Fool  ?  " 

So  the  Fool  smiled  and  said,  "  Buy  me,  my  own  father, 
a  silver  saucer  and  a  crystal  apple." 

"  What  do  you  mean  ?  "  asked  the  sisters. 

"  I  should  then  roll  the  apple  on  the  saucer,  and 
should  speak  words  which  an  old  woman  taught  me  in 
return  for  my  giving  her  a  loaf  of  white  bread."  So 
.the  peasant  promised,  and  went  away. 

Whether  he  went  far  or  near,  whether  he  took  long  or 

36 


SILVER  SAUCER  AND  CRYSTAL  APPLE     37 

short,  anyhow  he  went  to  the  fair,  sold  his  hay,  bought 
the  fairings,  gave  his  one  daughter  the  scarlet  nankin, 
the  other  the  red  cloth  for  a  sarafan  and  the  Fool  a 
silver  saucer  and  a  crystal  apple.  He  came  back  home 
and  he  showed  them.  Both  sisters  were  overjoyed, 
sewed  sarafans,  and  mocked  the  Fool,  and  waited  to 
see  what  she  would  do  with  her  silver  saucer  and  crystal 
apple.  But  the  Fool  did  not  eat  the  apple,  but  sat  in  a 
corner  and  whispered,  "  Roll,  roll,  roll,  little  apple,  on 
the  silver  saucer,  and  show  me  all  the  cities  and  the  fields, 
all  the  woods  and  the  seas,  and  the  heights  of  the  hills 
and  the  fairness  of  heaven." 

Then  the  apple  rolled  about  on  the  saucer;  a  trans- 
parency came  over  the  silver ;  and,  on  the  saucer,  all  the 
cities,  one  after  the  other,  became  visible,  all  the  ships  on 
the  seas,  and  the  regiments  in  the  fields,  and  the  heights 
of  the  mountains,  and  the  beauties  of  the  sky.  Sunset 
appeared  after  sunset  and  the  stars  gathered  in  their 
nocturnal  dances :  it  was  all  so  beautiful  and  so  lovely 
as  no  tale  can  tell  and  no  pen  can  write. 

Then  the  sisters  looked  on  and  they  became  envious 
and  wanted  to  take  the  saucer  away  from  their  sister, 
but  she  would  not  exchange  her  saucer  for  anything 
else  in  the  world.  So  the  evil  sisters  walked  about,  called 
out  and  began  to  talk.  "  Oh,  my  darling  sisters,  let  us 
go  into  the  wood  and  pick  berries  and  look  for  wild 
strawberries  !  "  So  the  Fool  gave  her  saucer  to  her 
father  and  herself  went  into  the  wood.  She  wandered 
about  with  her  sisters,  plucked  the  strawberries,  and 
saw  a  spade  lying  on  the  grass ;  then  the  other  sisters 
took  the  spade  and  began  beating  the  Fool  with  it,  slew 
the  Fool,  buried  her  under  a  silver  birch,  and  came  back 
to  their  father  late  at  night,  saying,  "  The  Little  Fool 
ran  away  from  us,  we  could  not  find  her,  we  went  all 
over  the  wood  searching  for  her.  We  suppose  the 
wolves  must  have  eaten  her  up."  But  the  father  was 


38  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

sorry.  She  was  a  Fool,  but  she  was  his  daughter  after 
all,  and  so  the  peasant  wept  for  his  daughter,  took  the 
silver  saucer  and  the  apple,  put  them  into  a  coffer  and 
locked  them  up.  And  the  sisters  also  wept  for  her. 

Soon  a  herd  came  by  and  the  trumpet  sounded  at 
dawn.  But  the  shepherd  was  taking  his  flock,  and  at 
dawn  he  sounded  his  trumpet  and  went  into  the  wood 
to  look  for  a  little  lamb.  He  saw  a  little  hummock 
beside  a  silver  birch,  and  on  it  all  around  ruby-red  and 
azure  flowers,  and  bulrushes  standing  above  the  flowers. 
So  the  young  shepherd  broke  a  bulrush,  made  a  pipe  of 
it,  and  a  wonderful  wonder  happened,  a  marvellous 
marvel :  the  pipe  began  of  itself  to  sing  and  to  speak. 
"  Play  on,  play  on,  my  little  pipe.  Console  my  father, 
console  my  guiding  light,  my  father,  and  tell  my  mother 
of  me,  and  my  sisters,  the  little  doves.  For  they  killed 
me,  the  poor  one,  and  for  a  silver  saucer  have  severed 
me  from  light,  all  for  my  enchanted  apple." 

People  heard  and  ran  together,  the  entire  village 
thronged  round  the  shepherd,  asked  him  who  had  been 
slain.  There  was  no  end  to  the  question.  "  Good  folks 
all,"  said  the  shepherd,  "  I  do  not  know  anything  about 
it.  I  was  looking  for  a  little  sheep  in  the  wood,  and  I 
saw  a  knoll,  on  the  knoll  flowers,  and  a  bulrush  over  the 
knoll.  I  broke  off  a  bulrush,  carved  myself  a  pipe  out 
of  it,  and  the  pipe  began  singing  and  speaking  of  itself." 

Now  it  so  happened  that  the  father  of  the  Little 
Fool  was  there,  heard  the  words  of  the  shepherd,  wanted 
to  lay  hold  of  the  pipe,  when  the  pipe  began  singing, 
"  Play  on,  play  on,  little  pipe  :  this  is  my  father  ;  con- 
sole him  with  my  mother.  My  poor  little  self  they 
slew,  they  withdrew  from  the  white  world,  all  for  tl 
sake  of  my  silver  vessel  and  crystal  apple." 

"  Lead  us,  shepherd,"  said  the  father,  "  where  yoi 
broke  off  the  bulrush."  So  they  followed  the  shepherc 
into  the  wood  and  to  the  knoll,  and  they  were  amazec 


SILVER  SAUCER  AND  CRYSTAL  APPLE    39 

at  the  beautiful  flowers,  ruby-red,  sky-blue,  that  grew 
there. 

Then  they  began  to  dig  up  the  knoll  and  discovered 
the  dead  body.  The  father  clasped  his  hands,  groaned 
as  he  recognised  his  unfortunate  daughter,  saw  her  lying 
there  slain,  not  knowing  by  whom  she  had  been  buried. 
And  all  the  good  folks  asked  who  had  been  the  slayers, 
who  had  been  the  murderers.  Then  the  pipe  began  play- 
ing and  speaking  of  itself.  "  O  my  light,  my  father,  my 
sisters  called  me  to  the  wood :  they  killed  me  here  to 
get  my  saucer,  my  silver  saucer,  and  my  crystal  apple. 
You  cannot  raise  me  from  my  heavy  sleep  till  you  get 
water  from  the  Tsar's  well." 

The  two  envious  sisters  trembled,  paled,  and  their 
soul  was  in  flames.  They  acknowledged  their  guilt. 
They  were  seized,  bound,  locked  up  in  a  dark  vault  at 
the  Tsar's  pleasure.  But  the  father  set  out  on  his  way 
to  the  capital  city.  The  road  was  long  or  short.  At  last 
he  reached  the  town  and  came  up  to  the  palace.  The 
Tsar.,  tfre,  fotle  ?un-  was  coming  down  the  golden  stair- 
case. The  old  man  bowed  down  to  the  earth  and  asked 
for  the  Tsar's  mercy.  Then  the  T^ar,,  the  hope,  said, 
"  Take  the  water  of  life  from  the  Tsar's  well.  When 
your  daughter  revives,  bring  her  here  with  the  saucer, 
the  apple,  and  the  evil-doing  sisters." 

The  old  man  was  overjoyed,  bowed  down  to  earth 
and  took  the  phial  with  the  living  water,  ran  into  the 
wood  to  the  flowery  knoll,  and  took  up  the  body.  As 
soon  as  ever  he  sprinkled  it  with  the  water  his  daughter 
sprang  up  in  front  of  him  alive,  and  hung  like  a  dove 
upon  her  father's  neck.  All  the  people  gathered  together 
and  wept.  The  old  man  went  to  the  capital  city.  He 
was  taken  into  the  Tsar's  rooms.  The  Tsar,  the  little 
sun,  appeared,  saw  the  old  man  with  his  three  daughters, 
two  tied  by  the  hands,  and  the  third  daughter  like  a 
spring  flower,  the  light  of  Paradise  in  her  eyes,  with  the 


4o  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

dawn  on  her  face,  tears  flowing  in  her  eyes,  falling  like 
pearls. 

The  Tsar  looked  and  was  amazed,  and  was  wroth  with 
the  wicked  sisters.  He  asked  the  fair  maiden,  "  Where 
are  your  saucer  and  the  crystal  apple  ?  " 

Then  she  took  the  little  coffer  out  of  her  father's 
hands,  took  out  the  apple  and  the  saucer,  and  herself 
asked  the  Tsar,  "  What  do  you  want  to  see,  O  Tsar  my 
Emperor  ?  Would  you  like  to  see  your  powerful  cities, 
your  valorous  hosts,  your  ships  on  the  sea,  or  the  wonder- 
ful stars  of  the  sky  ?  "  And  she  let  the  crystal  apple 
roll  about  on  the  silver  saucer,  and  on  the  saucer  one  after 
the  other  all  the  towns  appeared  in  their  shape  ;  all  the 
regiments  with  their  banners  and  their  arquebuses 
standing  in  warlike  array,  the  leaders  in  front  of  the 
lines  and  the  colonels  in  front  of  the  platoons  and  the 
sergeants  in  front  of  their  companies.  And  the  guns 
fired  and  the  shots  flew,  and  the  smoke  wreathed  and 
writhed :  it  was  all  visible  to  the  eye.  Then  again  the 
apple  rolled  about  on  the  saucer,  the  crystal  on  the  silver, 
and  the  sea  could  be  seen  billowing  on  the  shore,  and 
the  ships  swimming  like  swans,  flags  flying,  issuing  from 
the  stern,  and  the  noise  of  guns  and  cannon-smoke 
arriving  like  wreaths,  all  visible  to  the  eye.  Then  again 
the  apple  rolled  on  the  saucer,  the  crystal  on  the  silver, 
and  the  sky  was  red  on  the  saucer,  and  little  sun  after 
little  sun  made  its  round,  and  the  stars  gathered  on  their 
dance.  The  Tsar  was  amazed  at  this  wonder. 

But  the  fair  maiden  was  lost  in  tears  and  fell  down  at 
the  Tsar's  feet  and  begged  for  mercy,  saying,  "  Tsar, 
your  Majesty,"  she  said,  "  take  my  silver  saucer  and 
crystal  apple  if  you  will  only  forgive  my  sisters,  and  do 
not  destroy  them  for  my  sake." 

And  the  Tsar  was  melted  by  her  tears  and  pardoned 
them  at  her  request.  She  for  sheer  joy  shouted  out  and 
fell  upon  her  sisters.  The  Tsar  looked  round,  was 


SILVER  SAUCER  AND  CRYSTAL  APPLE    41 

amazed,  took  the  fair  maiden  by  the  hand,  said  to  her  in 
a  kindly  voice,  "  I  must  for  your  goodness  love  your 
beauty :  will  you  be  my  wife  and  the  Tsaritsa  of  my 
fair  realm  ?  " 

"  Tsar,  your  Majesty,"  answered  the  fair  maiden, 
"  it  is  your  imperial  will,  but  it  is  the  father's  will  which 
is  law  amongst  the  daughters,  and  the  blessing  of  their 
mother.  If  my  father  will,  if  my  mother  will  bless  me, 
I  will." 

Then  the  father  bowed  down  to  earth,  and  he  sent 
for  the  mother,  and  the  mother  blessed  her. 

"  Yet  I  have  one  word  more  for  you,"  said  the  fair 
maiden  to  the  Tsar :  "  Do  not  separate  my  kin  from 
me,  let  my  mother  and  my  father  and  my  sisters  remain 
with  me." 

Then  the  sisters  bowed  down  to  her  feet,  and  said, 
"  We  are  not  worthy  !  " 

"  It  has  all  been  forgotten,  my  beloved  sisters,"  she 
said  to  them  ;  "  ye  are  my  kin,  ye  are  not  strangers.  He 
who  bears  in  mind  an  ill  bygone  has  lost  his  sight." 
And  as  she  said  this,  she  smiled  and  raised  her  sisters  up. 

And  her  sisters  wept  from  sheer  emotion,  as  the  rivers 
flow,  and  would  not  rise  from  the  ground. 

Then  the  Tsar  bade  them  rise  and  looked  on  them 
kindly,  bidding  them  remain  in  the  city. 

There  was  a  feast  in  the  palace :  the  front  steps 
glittered  and  glowed  as  though  with  flame,  like  the  sun 
enwreathed  in  his  beams.  The  Tsar  and  the  Tsaritsa 
sat  on  a  chariot,  and  the  earth  trembled,  and  the  people 
ran  up  crying  out,  "  Long  live  the  Tsar  and  Tsaritsa  !  " 


THE   FOUNDLING   PRINCE 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  Tsar  and  Tsaritsa  who 
had  only  one  son.  The  Tsar  one  day  had  to  leave  home, 
and  in  his  absence  a  disaster  befell  them  ;  the  Tsarevich 
disappeared.  They  searched  and  searched  for  the 
Tsarevich,  dragging  the  ponds.  Not  a  breath  nor  a 
sound  could  be  heard  of  him.  So  fifteen  years  went  by, 
until  at  last  the  Tsar  received  news  that  in  a  certain 
village  a  peasant  had  found  a  child  who  was  a  wonder  for 
his  beauty  and  his  cleverness. 

So  the  Tsar  ordered  the  peasant  to  be  brought  to  him 
as  soon  as  possible :  he  was  brought,  and  the  Tsar  began 
asking  him  where  he  had  found  the  boy.  The  peasant 
explained  that  he  had  found  him  fifteen  years  ago  in  a 
corn  kiln,  with  strange  and  rich  clothing  on  him  ;  and 
by  every  sign  he  was  the  Tsar's  own  son. 

So  the  Tsar  told  the  peasant,  "  Tell  your  foundling 
that  he  is  to  come  to  me  neither  naked  nor  dressed,  nor 
on  foot  nor  on  horseback,  neither  by  day  nor  by  night, 
neither  in  the  courtyard  nor  in  the  street." 

So  the  peasant  went  back  home,  wept  and  told  the 
boy.  How  on  earth  was  it  to  be  done  ! 

But  the  boy  replied,  "  That  is  easy  enough :  I  can 
guess  this  riddle." 

So  he  took  and  undressed  himself  from  head  to  foot, 
put  a  net  on  himself,  came  on  a  goat,  came  up  to  the 
Tsar  at  twilight,  and  mounted  the  goat  at  the  gate, 
leaving  the  fore-feet  of  the  goat  on  the  courtyard  and 
the  hind-feet  in  the  street. 

When  the  Tsar  saw  this,  he  became  convinced  and 
said,  "  This  must  be  my  son  !  " 

42 


THE   SUN   AND   HOW  IT  WAS  MADE  BY 
DIVINE  WILL 

THE  Sun  is  thirty  times  the  size  it  appears :  looks  very 
small  because  it  is  very  high  up  from  the  earth. 

The  Sun  has  an  apparel  and  a  crown  which  would 
befit  a  Tsar,  and  fifteen  thousands  of  angels  of  the  Lord 
accompany  him  and  deck  him  every  day.  And  when 
the  Sun  wanes  to  the  West,  then  the  angels  strip  off 
from  him  that  garb  and  crown  which  would  befit  a 
Tsar,  and  lay  it  on  the  throne  of  the  Lord. 

Three  angels  remain  with  the  Sun  and  make  him 
ready,  and  God  has  consigned  one  hundred  angels  to 
enrobe  the  Sun  in  an  apparel  and  a  crown  meet  for  a 
Tsar. 

And  when  the  Sun  arises  from  the  East  crossing  to 
the  West,  then  fiery  phoenixes  and  the  Ksdlavy  of  para- 
dise fly  in  front  of  the  Sun,  but  first  wet  their  wings  in 
the  waters  of  the  ocean  and  asperse  with  their  wings 
the  Sun  that  he  may  not  sear  them  with  his  golden  rays. 

But  from  the  fire  of  the  Sun  the  feathers  even  of  these 
birds  are  consumed,  because  they  are  scorched  away. 
And  they  again  bathe  in  the  ocean  and  are  renewed. 

For  this  reason  the  cock  is  a  prophet,  and  it  has  under 
its  wings  a  white  feather  belonging  to  the  other  birds. 

And  when  the  Sun  wanes  to  the  West,  then  the  cock's 
feathers  warp. 

But  when  the  Lord's  angels  take  the  dress  and  the 
crown  from  the  throne  of  the  Lord,  the  cock  awakens, 
lifts  up  his  voice,  flutters  with  his  wings,  the  first  time 

43 


44 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


to  announce  the  resurrection  to  the  world  and  to  tell  the 
angels  of  the  law  ;  then  to  say :  "  O  Christ,  Giver  of 
Light,  look  down  on  us  and  bestow  on  the  world  Thy 
light  "  ;  and  the  third  time  to  sing :  "  Christ  is  the  Life 
and  accomplishes  all  things."  And  thus  the  cock  sings 
to  the  light,  magnifies  its  Creator,  and  announces  joy  to 
the  just.  Amen. 


THE   LANGUAGE   OF   THE   BIRDS 

IN  a  certain  city  there  was  a  merchant  and  his  wife  and 
their  son,  who  was  wise  beyond  his  years  ;  he  was  called 
Vasili.  Once  all  three  were  lunching  together,  and  in 
a  cage  there  was  a  Nightingale  singing  over  the  table, 
singing  so  woefully  that  the  merchant  could  not  bear 
it,  and  he  said,  "  If  there  ever  were  a  man  who  could 
really  tell  me  what  that  Nightingale  is  saying  and  the 
doom  he  is  foreboding,  I  should  like  to  meet  him  :  I 
would  give  him  in  my  life  half  of  my  possessions,  and 
after  my  death  I  would  bequeath  him  many  goods." 

Then  the  little  boy,  who  was  only  six  years  old,  looked 
his  father  and  mother  fixedly  in  the  eyes  and  said,  "  I 
know  what  the  Nightingale  is  singing,  only  I  am  fright- 
ened of  saying  it." 

"  Speak  out  openly,"  said  the  mother  and  father. 

And  then  Vasili  said  with  tears,  "  The  Nightingale  is 
foretelling  that  a  time  and  season  is  coming  when  you 
will  be  my  servants,  when  father  will  draw  me  water  and 
mother  will  give  me  the  towel  to  wipe  my  face  and  hands." 

These  words  made  the  merchant  and  his  wife  very 
angry,  so  they-  decided  to  get  rid  of  tnek  child  ;  they 
built  a  little  boat,  and  in  the  dark  of  night,  put  the 
sleeping  boy  into  it  and  let  it  sail  into  the  open  sea. 

Just  then  the  prophetic  Nightingale  flew  out  of  its 
cage  into  the  boat  and  sat  on  the  boy's  shoulder.  Then 
the  boat  came  to  the  sea-shore,  and  a  ship  came  to  meet 
it  with  all  its  sails  spread.  The  master  of  the  ship  saw 
the  boy,  pitied  him,  adopted  him,  asked  him  questions, 
promised  to  keep  and  love  him  as  if  he  were  his  own  son. 

45    ]^^ 

-e^-        */ 


46  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Next  day  the  boy  said  to  his  new  father,  "  The 
Nightingale  foretells  that  a  storm  is  brewing  which  will 
break  the  masts  and  shatter  the  sails.  You  must  go  back 
to  the  haven." 

But  the  master  of  the  ship  would  not  go.  And  a  storm 
arose  at  once,  and  the  masts  were  shattered,  and  the 
sails  torn  down.  It  was  no  good,  what  is  ended  cannot 
be  mended,  so  new  masts  were  built  and  new  sails  were 
rigged.  And  they  sailed  on  further. 

Again  Vasya  said,  "  The  Nightingale  sings  that  there 
are  twelve  ships  coming  to  meet  us,  all  pirate  ships,  and 
they  will  take  us  prisoner." 

This  time  the  master  of  the  ship  believed  him,  and 
returned  to  the  island,  and  he  saw  the  twelve  bold 
pirates  go  sailing  by.  So  the  master  of  the  ship  waited 
as  long  as  need  be,  and  then  sailed  further. 

Some  time  went  by,  not  too  much,  not  too  little,  and 
the  ship  arrived  at  the  city  of  Khvalynsk;  and,  for  very 
many  years,  in  front  of  the  palace  of  the  King  of 
Khvalynsk,  a  Crow,  with  his  wife  and  child,  had  been 
flying  and  screeching,  giving  no  rest  either  by  day  or 
night.  Whatever  they  did,  whatever  gins  they  might  set, 
they  could  not  drive  them  off  from  the  window.  Small 
shot  was  not  any  good.  And  so  that  King  ordained 
that  at  every  cross-road  and  at  all  the  harbours  this 
notice  should  be  exhibited : 


"  IF  ANY  MAN  CAN  DRIVE  AWAY  THE  CROW,  WITH  HIS 
WIFE  AND  CHILD,  FROM  THE  ROYAL  WINDOWS,  THE  KlNG 
WILL  GRANT  HIM  AS  A  REWARD  HALF  OF  HIS  KINGDOM,  AND 
HIS  YOUNGEST  DAUGHTER  AS  WIFE — BUT  IF  ANY  SHALL 
UNDERTAKE  THE  WORK  AND  SHALL  NOT  FULFIL  IT  HE  SHALL 
FORFEIT  HIS  HEAD." 


Very  many  were  the  hunters  eager  to  become  kinsmen 
of  the  King,  and  all  of  their  heads  had  been  hewn  oft 
and  hung  on  stakes. 


THE   LANGUAGE  OF  THE   BIRDS        47 

Now  Vasili  heard  of  this,  went  up  and  asked  the 
master  of  the  ship,  "  Let  me  go  to  the  King  ;  possibly 
I  can  chase  away  the  Crow  and  his  wife." 

They  endeavoured  to  deter  him,  but  failed.  "  Very 
well,  go.  And  if  you  come  by  any  harm,  put  the  blame 
on  yourself  !  " 

So  Vasili  came  into  the  palace,  told  the  King,  and 
ordered  the  windows  to  be  opened  in  front  of  which  the 
Crows  were  flying.  He  then  listened  to  what  the  birds 
were  saying,  and  told  the  King,  "  Your  Majesty,  you 
see  that  there  are  three  flying  here,  the  Crow,  Madam 
Crow,  and  Master  Crow :  the  Crow  is  disputing  with 
his  wife  as  to  which  of  them  the  son  belongs,  whether 
to  the  father  or  to  the  mother  ;  and  they  are  asking  for 
a  decision.  Your  Majesty,  decide  to  whom  it  is  the  son 
belongs." 

The  King  answered,  "  To  the  father." 

As  soon  as  the  King  had  said  this,  the  Crow  with  Master 
Crow  sailed  to  the  right,  but  Madam  Crow  to  the  left. 

After  this  the  King  took  the  youth  unto  himself,  and 
he  lived  at  the  royal  court  and  received  the  greatest 
kindness  and  honour,  grew  up  and  became  a  youth  of 
youths,  married  the  Princess,  and  received  half  of  the 
kingdom  as  a  dowry. 

One  day  he  thought  he  would  like  to  journey  to 
foreign  parts  and  see  strange  lands,  view  the  folks  of  the 
world,  and  show  himself.  So  he  set  out  to  roam  through 
the  world.  In  one  city  he  stayed  for  a  night,  passed  the 
night  there,  got  up  in  the  morning  and  said  he  wished 
to  wash.  So  the  master  brought  him  water  and  the 
mistress  brought  him  the  towel.  The  King's  son  spoke 
with  them,  and  then  saw  that  they  were  his  father  and 
mother,  wept  for  joy,  and  fell  at  the  feet  of  his  parents. 
Afterwards  he  took  them  with  him  to  his  own  city  of 
Khvalynsk,  and  they  lived  together  long,  and  lived  to 
enjoy  good. 


BABA  YAGA  AND  ZAMORYSHEK 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  lived  an  old  man  and  his  old 
wife,  and  they  had  no  children,  and  what  on  earth  did 
they  not  do  to  get  them  !  How  did  not  they  beseech 
God !  But  for  all  that  the  wife  bore  no  children.  One 
day  the  old  man  went  into  the  forest  to  look  for  mush- 
rooms, and  an  old  gaffer  met  him. 

"  I  know  your  thoughts.  You  are  thinking  of  children," 
he  said.  "  Go  to  the  village  and  collect  one  little  egg 
from  every  house  and  put  a  brood  hen  over  them,  and, 
what  will  ensue,  you  will  yourself  see." 

Now  there  were  forty-one  houses  in  the  village.  The 
old  man  went  and  collected  the  eggs  and  put  a  brood 
hen  over  them.  Two  weeks  later  he  and  his  wife  went 
to  see,  and  they  found  that  there  were  children  born  of 
the  eggs,  and  they  looked  again  and  they  found  that 
forty  of  the  children  were  fine,  strong  and  healthy,  and 
there  was  one  who  was  a  weakling. 

So  the  old  man  gave  them  names.  But  he  had  no 
name  left  for  the  last,  so  he  called  him  Zamoryshek.1 
And  these  children  grew  up  not  by  days,  but  by  hours, 
and  they  shot  up  fast  and  began  to  work  and  to  help  the 
mother  and  father.  The  forty  of  them  used  to  go  into 
the  fields  whilst  Zamoryshek  stayed  at  home.  When 
the  harvesting  season  came  on  the  forty  began  making 
the  hayricks,  and  in  a  single  week  all  the  ricks  were  put 
up.  So  they  came  back  home  to  the  village,  lay  down, 
slept,  and  ate  of  the  fare  God  provided. 

The  old  man  looked  at  them  and  said,  "  Young  and 
green,  goes  far,  sleeps  sound,  and  leaves  the  work  undone !  " 

1  Benjamin. 
48 


49 


'  You  go  and  see,  batyusbka,"  1  said  Zamoryshek. 

So  the  old  man  went  into  the  fields  and  saw  forty 
ricks  standing.  "  Ah,  these  are  fine  boys  of  mine  ! 
Look  at  all  they  have  harvested  in  one  week  !  "  Next 
day  he  went  out  again  to  gloat  on  his  possessions,  and 
found  one  rick  was  a-missing.  He  came  home  and  said, 
"  One  rick  has  vanished." 

"  Never  mind,  batyushka,"  said  Zamoryshek,  "  we 
will  catch  the  thief :  give  me  a  hundred  roubles,  and  I 
will  do  the  deed." 

Then  Zamoryshek  went  to  the  smith  and  asked  for 
a  chain  big  enough  to  cover  a  man  from  head  to  foot. 

And  the  smith  said,  "  Certainly." 

"  Very  well,  then :  if  the  chain  hold,  I  will  give  you 
one  hundred  roubles  ;  if  it  break,  your  labour's  lost." 

The  smith  forged  the  chain  ;  Zamoryshek  put  it 
round  him,  stretched  it,  and  it  broke.  So  the  smith 
made  a  second  iron  chain,  Zamoryshek  put  it  round  his 
body,  and  it  again  broke.  Then  the  smith  made  a  third 
chain,  three  times  as  strong,  and  Zamoryshek  could  not 
break  it. 

Zamoryshek  then  went  and  sat  under  the  hayrick  and 
waited.  At  midnight  a  sudden  storm  rose  and  the  sea 
raged,  and  a  strange  nag  rose  out  of  the  sea,  ran  up  to 
the  rick  and  began  to  eat  it.  Zamoryshek  bound  the 
neck  round  with  chains  and  mounted  her.  The  mare 
began  to  gallop  over  the  valleys  and  over  the  hills,  and 
she  reared,  but  she  could  not  dislodge  the  rider  ;  and  at 
last  she  stopped  and  said  in  a  human  voice :  "  Now, 
good  youth,  now  you  can  mount  me,  you  may  become 
master  of  my  foals."  Then  she  ran  under  the  sea  and 
neighed,  and  the  sea  opened  and  up  ran  forty-one  foals ; 
and  they  were  such  fine  foals,  every  single  horse  was 
better  than  every  other  horse.  You  might  go  round  the 
entire  earth  and  never  see  any  horses  as  good. 

1  Father. 


50  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Next  morning  the  old  man  heard  neighing  outside  his 
door,  and  wondered  what  the  noise  was,  and  there  was 
his  son  Zamoryshek  with  the  entire  drove.  "  Good  !  " 
he  said.  "  Now,  my  sons,  ye  had  better  go  and  hunt 
for  brides."  So  off  they  went.  The  mother  and  father 
blessed  them,  and  the  brothers  set  forth  on  their  distant 
way  and  road. 

They  rode  far  in  the  white  world  in  order  to  seek  their 
brides.  For  they  would  not  marry  separately,  and  what 
mother  could  they  find  who  should  boast  of  having 
forty-one  daughters  ? 

And  they  went  across  thirteen  countries,  and  they 
then  saw  a  steep  mountain  which  they  ascended,  and 
there  there  stood  a  white  stone  palace  with  high  walls 
round  and  iron  columns  and  gates  where  they  counted 
forty-one  columns.  So  they  tied  their  knightly  horses 
to  each  of  the  stakes,  and  they  entered. 

Then  the  Baba  Yaga  met  them  and  said :  "  O  ye 
unlooked-for,  uninvited  guests,  how  did  you  dare 
without  leave  to  tie  your  horses  to  my  stakes  ?  " 

"  Come,  old  lady,  what  are  you  complaining  of  ? 
First  of  all  give  us  food  and  drink,  take  us  into  the  bath, 
and  thereafter  ask  us  for  our  news,  and  question  us." 

So  the  Baba  Yaga  served  them  with  food  and  drink, 
conducted  them  to  the  bath,  and  then  afterwards  she 
asked  them :  "  Have  ye  come  to  do  deeds,  doughty 
youths,  or  to  flee  from  deeds  ?  " 

"  We  have  come  to  do  deeds,  grandmother,"  they 
said. 

"  What  have  ye  come  to  seek  ?  " 

"  We  are  seeking  brides." 

Then  she  replied,  "  I  have  daughters."  And  she 
burst  into  the  lofty  rooms  and  brought  out  her  forty-one 
daughters. 

They  were  then  betrothed,  and  began  to  feast  together 
and  celebrate  the  marriage. 


BABA  YAGA  AND  ZAMORYSHEK          51 

When  the  evening  came  Zamoryshek  went  to  look  at 
his  horse,  and  the  good  horse  saw  him  and  spoke  with  a 
human  voice.  "  See  to  this,  my  master :  when  you  lie 
down  with  your  young  wives,  dress  them  in  your  clothes, 
and  put  on  your  wives'  clothes,  otherwise  you  will  all 
be  killed." 

Then  they  all  went  and  lay  down,  and  they  all  went  to 
sleep,  only  Zamoryshek  took  care  to  keep  his  eyes  open. 

And  at  midnight  Baba  Yaga  cried  out  in  a  loud  voice  : 
"  Ho,  ye  my  faithful  servants  !  Will  ye  cut  off  the  heads 
of  my  insolent  and  uninvited  guests  ?  "  And  so  the 
servants  ran  and  cut  off  the  daughters'  heads. 

Zamoryshek  roused  his  brothers  and  told  them  what 
had  happened.  So  they  took  the  heads  with  them,  put 
them  on  the  forty-one  stakes,  armed  themselves  and 
galloped  off. 

In  the  morning  the  Baba  Yaga  got  up,  looked  through 
her  little  window,  and  saw  the  heads  on  the  stakes.  She 
was  very  angry,  and  she  called  for  her  fiery  shield,  and 
leapt  out  on  the  chase,  and  set  to  waving  her  fiery  shield 
in  all  directions  to  the  four  winds. 

Whither  should  the  youths  betake  themselves  for 
concealment  ?  In  front  of  them  there  was  the  blue  sea 
and  behind  them  the  Baba  Yaga.  And  she  burned 
everything  in  front  of  her  with  her  fiery  shield.  They 
might  have  had  to  die,  but  Zamoryshek  was  an  inventive 
youth,  and  had  not  forgotten  to  take  Baba  Yaga's  hand- 
kerchief, and  he  shook  the  handkerchief  in  front,  and 
so  built  a  bridge  across  all  the  width  of  the  blue  sea,  and 
the  doughty  youths  crossed  the  sea  safely.  Then 
Zamoryshek  shook  the  handkerchief  on  the  left-hand 
side  and  the  bridge  vanished.  The  Baba  Yaga  had  to 
turn  back,  but  the  brothers  went  home  safely. 


THE  MIRACULOUS  HEN 

I  BEYOND  thrice-nine  lands,  in  the  thrice-tenth  realm- 
it  was  not  in  our  kingdom — once  an  old  man  and  an  old 
woman  lived  in  great  need  and  poverty.  They  had  two 
sons,  who  were  very  young  and  as  yet  of  no  use  for  field 
work.  So  the  old  man  got  up  himself,  and  himself  did 
all  the  work  ;  he  went  out  and  looked  after  the  labourers, 
and  for  all  that  he  could  only  earn  a  few  pence. 

As  he  was  going  home  one  day  he  met  a  sorry  drunkard, 
who  had  a  hen  in  his  hands.  "  Will  you,  old  man,  buy 
my  hen  ?  " 

"  What  do  you  want  for  it  ?  " 

"  Give  me  fifty  kopeks  for  it." 

"  No,  brother  ;  take  these  few  pence — that  will  be 
enough  for  you  ;  you  will  get  a  pint  and  can  drink  it 
out  on  your  way  home  and  go  to  sleep." 

So  the  drunkard  took  the  pence  and  gave  the  old  man' 
the  hen. 

Then  the  old  man  returned  home.  But  they  were 
very  hungry  there  ;  there  was  not  a  crust  of  bread. 
"  Here,"  he  said,  as  he  came  in,  to  his  wife,  "  here  is  a 
hen  I  have  bought  you." 

But  his  wife  turned  on  him  fiercely  and  scolded  him. 
"  What  an  old  fool  you  are  !  You  must  have  gone 
utterly  mad :  our  children  are  sitting  down  at  home 
without  any  bread,  and  you  buy  a  hen  which  you  must 
feed  !  " 

"  Hold  your  tongue,  foolish  woman  ;  does  a  hen  eat 
so  much  ?  Why,  she  will  lay  us  an  egg  and  will  bring  us 
chicks ;  we  can  sell  the  chicks  and  then  buy  bread." 

52 


THE  MIRACULOUS  HEN  53 

So  the  old  man  made  a  little  nest  and  he  put  the  hen 
under  the  stove.  In  the  morning  he  looked,  and  the  hen 
had  laid  a  jewel  of  absolutely  natural  colours.  So  the 
old  man  said  to  his  wife,  "  Now,  old  lady ;  amongst 
other  folks  the  hens  lay  eggs,  but  our  hen  lays  jewels : 
what  shall  we  do  ?  " 

"  Take  it  into  the  city ;  possibly  somebody  may  buy  it." 

So  the  old  man  went  into  the  city,  went  into  all  the 
inns  by  turns  and  showed  his  precious  stone.  All  the 
merchants  gathered  round  him  and  began  valuing  the 
stone.  They  valued  it  and  valued  it,  and  it  was  at  last 
bought  for  five  hundred  roubles. 

From  that  day  the  old  man  went  on  trading  in  precious 
stones  which  his  hen  laid  him,  and  he  very  soon  became 
enriched,  had  himself  inscribed  into  the  merchants' 
guild,  put  up  a  shop,  hired  apprentices,  and  set  up  sea- 
faring ships  to  carry  his  wares  into  foreign  lands.  One 
day  he  was  going  into  foreign  parts,  and  he  bade  his 
wife  have  a  great  heed  to  the  hen  :  "  Treasure  her  more  . 
than  your  eyes ;  should  she  be  lost,  you  shall  forfeit 
your  own  head." 

As  soon  as  he  had  gone  the  ojkljwornan  began  to  think 
evil  thoughts.  For  she  was  great  friends  with  one  of 
the  young  apprentices. 

"  Where  do  you  get  these  precious  stones  from  ?  "  the 
apprentice  asked  her. 

"  Oh,  it  is  our  hen  that  lays  them." 

So  the  apprentice  took  the  hen,  looked,  and  under  the 
right  wing  he  saw  written  in  gold :  "  Whoever  eats  this 
hen's  head  shall  become  a  king,  and  whoever  eats  her 
liver  shall  spit  out  gold." 

So  he  told  the  wife,  "  Bake  me  the  hen  for  supper." 

"  Oh,  my  dear  friend,  how  can  I  ?  My  husband  will 
be  coming  back  and  will  punish  me." 

But  the  apprentice  would  not  listen  to  any  argument. 

Bake  it,"  he  said — that  was  all. 


54  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

The  next  day  the  old  woman  got  supper  ready,  made 
ready  to  twist  the  hen's  neck  and  to  roast  it  for  supper 
with  the  head  and  the  liver.  The  cook  twisted  the  hen's 
neck  and  put  her  into  the  oven,  and  himself  went  out. 
But  in  that  time  the  two  little  children  of  the  house, 
who  were  at  school,  ran  in,  looked  into  the  oven,  and 
wanted  to  nibble.  The  elder  brother  ate  the  head  and 
the  youngest  ate  the  liver. 

When  supper-time  came,  the  hen  was  put  on  the  table, 
but  when  the  apprentice  saw  that  both  the  head  and  the 
liver  were  missing  he  was  very  angry,  quarrelled  with  the 
old  woman  and  went  home.  The  old  woman  followed 
him  and  wheedled,  but  he  still  insisted :  "  You  bring 
your  children,  take  their  liver  out  and  brains,  and  give 
them  me  for  supper  ;  otherwise  I  will  have  nothing  to 
do  with  you." 

So  the  old  woman  put  her  children  to  bed,  called  the 
cook  and  bade  him  take  them  whilst  they  were  asleep 
into  the  wood,  there  kill  them  and  extract  their  liver 
and  their  brains  and  get  them  ready  for  supper.  The 
cook  took  the  children  into  the  slumbrous  forest,  stopped, 
and  made  ready  to  whet  the  knife. 

The  boys  woke  up  and  asked,  "  Why  are  you  sharpen- 
ing the  knife  ?  " 

"  Because  your  mother  has  bidden  me  take  out  your 
liver  and  brains  and  cook  them." 

"  Oh,  grandfather,  little  dove,  do  not  slay  us ;  we  will 
give  you  all  the  gold  you  desire,  only  pity  us  and  let  us 
free."  So  the  younger  brother  filled  his  skirt  with  gold, 
and  the  cook  was  contented  with  this  and  he  set  them 
free. 

So  the  boys  went  forth  into  the  forest  and  he  turned 
back.  Fortunately  for  him  a  bitch  came  his  way,  so  he 
took  her  two  puppies,  took  their  livers  and  brains, 
roasted  them  and  gave  them  for  supper.  The  appren- 
tice was  very  pleased  with  the  dish,  swallowed  it  all, 


THE  MIRACULOUS  HEN  55 

and  became  neither  a  king  nor  a  king's  son,  but  simply 
a  fool. 

The  boys  went  out  of  the  wood  on  the  broad  road, 
and  went  whither  their  eyes  gazed — maybe  far,  maybe 
short,  they  went.  Soon  the  road  divided  into  two,  and 
a  column  stood  there,  and  on  the  column  it  was  written  : 

"  WHO  GOES  TO  THE  RIGHT  SHALL  RECEIVE  A  KINGDOM, 

WHO  GOES  TO  THE  LEFT  SHALL  RECEIVE  MUCH  OF  EVIL  AND  OF  GRIEF, 
BUT   HE   SHALL   MARRY  A   FAIR   PRINCESS." 

So  the  brothers  considered  this  inscription,  and  de- 
cided to  go  in  different  directions ;  the  elder  went  to 
the  right  and  the  younger  to  the  left. 

The  elder  went  on  and  on,  and  soon  came  to  an  un- 
known capital  city.  He  also  saw  a  mass  of  people,  only 
they  were  all  mourning  and  sad.  So  he  begged  shelter 
of  a  poor  old  widow.  "  Will  you  protect,"  he  said,  "  a 
foreigner  from  the  dark  night  ?  " 

"  I  should  be  very  glad  to  have  you,"  she  said,  "  but 
I  cannot  put  you  anywhere,  I  am  so  closely  packed." 

"  Do  let  me  in,  babushka  ;  I  am  such  a  simple  youth, 
just  as  you  are  ;  you  can  find  me  some  small  space,  some 
kind  of  nook  for  the  night." 

So  the  old  woman  admitted  him,  and  they  began  to 
speak. 

"  Why,  babushka"  the  stranger  asked,  "  is  there  such 
a  throng  in  the  city,  why  are  rooms  so  dear,  and  why  are 
the  people  all  mourning  and  melancholy  ?  " 

"  Well,  our  king  has  just  died,  and  the  boydrs  have 
sent  the  town-crier  out  to  announce  that  old  and  young 
are  to  assemble,  and  each  of  them  is  to  have  a  candle, 
and  with  the  candles  they  are  to  go  into  the  cathedral, 
and  whosesoever's  candle  lights  of  itself  is  to  be  king." 

So  in  the  morning  the  boy  got  up,  washed,  prayed  to 
God,  said  the  grace  for  the  bread  and  salt  and  the  soft 
bed  which  his  hostess  had  given  him,  and  went  into  the 


56  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

cathedral.  When  he  got  there,  if  you  had  been  there 
three  years  you  could  not  have  counted  all  those  people. 
And  he  took  a  candle  in  his  hand,  and  it  lit  up  at  once. 
So  they  all  burst  upon  him  and  began  to  blow  out  his 
candle,  to  damp  it,  but  the  flame  lit  all  the  brighter. 
There  was  no  help  for  it :  they  acknowledged  him  as 
their  king,  and  dressed  him  in  golden  apparel  and  led 
him  to  the  palace. 

But  the  younger  brother,  who  had  turned  to  the  left, 
heard  that  there  was  a  fair  princess  in  a  certain  kingdom 
who  was  indescribably  lovely.  But  she  was  very  grudging, 
and  she  announced  in  all  countries  that  she  would  only 
marry  the  man  who  could  feed  her  army  for  three  whole 
years ;  yet  every  one  had  to  try  his  luck.  So  the  boy 
went  there,  and  he  went  on  his  way,  went  on  the  broad 
road.  And  he  spat  into  his  little  bag,  and  spat  it  full  of 
pure  gold.  Well,  it  may  be  long,  it  may  be  short,  it 
may  be  near,  it  may  be  far,  but  he  at  last  reached  the 
fair  princess,  and  he  said  he  would  accomplish  her  task. 
He  had  no  need  to  ask  for  gold,  he  simply  had  to  spit 
and  there  it  was.  For  three  years  he  maintained  the 
princess's  army,  gave  it  food  and  drink  and  dress. 

So  the  time  came  for  a  jolly  feast  and  for  the  wedding. 
But  the  princess  was  still  full  of  wiles.  She  asked  herself 
and  she  sought  to  know  whence  God  had  sent  him  such 
enormous  wealth.  So  she  invited  him  to  be  her  guest, 
received  him,  honoured  him.  And  the  doughty  youth 
fell  sick,  and  he  vomited  up  the  liver  of  the  hen,  and  the 
Tsarevna  swallowed  it.  From  that  day  gold  fell  from  her 
lips,  and  she  would  not  have  her  bridegroom  with  her. 
"  What  shall  I  do  with  this  ignoramus  ?  "  she  asked  her 
boyars,  and  she  asked  her  generals.  "  He  has  had  the 
idiotic  idea  of  wanting  to  marry  me." 

So  the  boyars  said  he  must  be  hung,  and  the  generals 
said  he  must  be  shot.  But  the  Tsarevna  had  a  better 
idea — that  he  ought  to  be  sent  to  hell. 


THE  MIRACULOUS  HEN  57 

So  the  doughty  youth  escaped  and  once  more  set 
forth  on  his  road.  And  he  had  only  one  thought  in  his 
mind,  how  he  should  make  himself  wise  and  revenge 
himself  on  the  Tsarevna  for  her  unkind  jest.  So  he  went 
on  and  went  on,  and  he  came  into  the  dreamy  wood, 
and  he  looked  and  he  saw  three  men  fighting  with  their 
fists. 

"  What  are  you  fighting  about  ?  " 

"  We  have  three  finds  in  the  road,  and  we  cannot 
divide  them  ;  every  one  wants  them  for  himself." 

"  What  are  the  finds  ?  what  are  you  contending 
for  ?  " 

"  Look,  this  is  a  barrel :  you  only  have  to  knock  it, 
and  a  soldier  leaps  out  of  its  mouth.  This  is  a  flying 
carpet :  wherever  you  think  it  will  take  you.  And  this 
is  a  whip :  strike  a  maiden  and  say  '  You  have  been  a 
maiden,  now  become  a  mare,'  and  she  will  become  a 
mare  at  once." 

"  These  are  valuable  gifts,  and  they  are  hard  to  divide. 
But  this  is  the  way  out :  I  will  send  an  arrow  in  this 
direction,  and  you  all  run  after  it ;  he  who  reaches  it 
first  shall  have  the  barrel,  and  the  second  shall  have  the 
flying  carpet,  and  the  third  shall  have  the  whip." 

"  Very  well ;   shoot  the  dart." 

So  the  youth  sent  out  the  arrow  very  far.  The  three 
darted  after  it  and  ran,  and  they  never  looked  up.  But 
the  doughty  youth  took  the  barrel  and  the  whip,  sat 
upon  the  flying  carpet,  waved  it  one  end,  and  he  rose 
higher  than  the  forest  that  stood  there,  lower  than  the 
clouds  above,  and  he  flew  whither  he  would. 

So  he  went  back  to  the  forbidden  lands  of  the  fair 
princess,  began  beating  the  barrel,  and  an  enormous 
army  came  out  ;  infantry,  cavalry  and  artillery,  with 
cannon  and  with  powder  waggons.  And  the  mighty 
host  rolled  on  and  rolled  on.  The  doughty  youth  asked 
for  a  horse,  mounted  it,  and  went  up  to  his  army  and 


58  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

commanded  it.  The  drums  beat  out  and  the  trumpets 
sounded,  and  the  army  went  at  a  pace.  Then  the 
Tsarevna  saw  from  her  rooms  and  was  very  much 
frightened,  and  sent  her  boydrs  and  generals  to  ask  for 
peace.  The  good  youth  bade  these  ambassadors  be  seized, 
had  them  cruelly  and  savagely  punished  and  sent  them 
back  to  the  Tsarevna,  who  was  to  come  herself  and  ask 
for  a  reconciliation. 

Well,  there  was  no  help  for  it :  so  the  Tsarevna  her- 
self got  out  of  her  carriage,  recognised  him  and  swooned. 
But  he  took  the  whip,  struck  her  on  the  back :  "  You  are 
a  maiden,  now  became  a  mare  !  "  And  the  Tsarevna 
turned  into  a  mare.  He  bridled  and  rode  her,  and  went 
to  the  kingdom  of  his  elder  brother.  He  galloped  at  a 
full  pace,  put  both  spurs  into  her  back  and  used  a  scourge 
of  three  iron  rods,  and  the  army  followed  him,  an  un- 
believable host.  It  may  be  long,  it  may  be  short,  at  last 
they  came  to  the  boundary,  and  the  doughty  youth 
stopped,  collected  his  army  into  the  barrel,  and  went  to 
the  capital.  He  went  straight  to  the  royal  palace,  and 
the  king  himself  saw  him  and  looked  at  the  mare  and 
began  to  wonder :  "  What  is  this  great  hero  approach- 
ing ?  I  have  never  seen  such  a  fine  mare  in  all  my  life." 
So  he  sent  his  generals  to  trade  for  that  horse. 

"  No,  what  an  envious  king  you  have  !  "  said  the 
youth.  "  It  would  evidently  be  out  of  the  question 
in  your  city  to  come  here  with  a  young  wife  ;  if  you  are 
so  greedy  for  a  mare,  you  would  certainly  take  away  my 
wife." 

Then  he  went  to  the  palace  and  said,  "  Hail,  brother  !  " 

"  Oh,  I  never  knew  you  !  " 

So  they  set  to  kissing  each  other. 

"  What  sort  of  barrel  .have  you  ?  " 

"  That  is  for  drinking.  How  should  I  journey  forth 
on  the  road  otherwise  ?  " 

"  And  the  carpet  ?  " 


THE  MIRACULOUS  HEN  59 

"  Sit  down  and  you  will  find  out." 

So  they  sat  on  the  flying  carpet,  and  the  younger 
brother  shook  it  at  the  corner  and  they  flew  higher  than 
the  forest,  lower  than  the  wandering  cloud,  straight  back 
to  their  own  country.  So  they  flew  back,  took  a  room 
with  their  father,  and  as  to  who  they  were  they  never 
told  their  father  and  mother.  So  they  then  thought 
they  would  give  a  feast  to  all  the  christened  world.  They 
assembled  all  the  people  in  countless  hosts,  and  for  three 
whole  days  they  gave  food  and  drink  to  all  without 
requital,  without  any  charge.  And  afterwards  every  one 
began  saying  had  any  one  a  tale  of  wonder  to  tell ;  let 
him  start.  But  no  one  would  say :  "  We,  it  is  said,  are 
strange  folk,  but " 

"  Well,  I  will  tell  you  a  story,"  said  the  younger 
brother  ;  "  only  do  not  talk  until  the  end.  Whoever 
interrupts  three  times  is  to  be  ruthlessly  punished."  So 
they  all  agreed. 

And  he  began  to  tell  how  the  two  old  folks  had 
lived  together,  how  they  had  had  a  hen  which  laid  jewels, 
and  how  the  mother  had  made  friends  with  the  appren- 
tice. "  What  a  lie  !  "  interrupted  the  mistress.  But 
the  son  went  on  with  his  tale.  And  he  narrated  how 
they  had  twisted  the  hen's  neck,  and  the  mother  again 
interrupted.  At  last  the  story  went  up  to  the  point 
when  the  old  woman  wished  to  take  away  the  children, 
and  again  she  would  not  stand  it :  "  It  is  untrue  J  "  she 
said.  "  Could  ever  such  a  thing  happen  ?  Could  ever  a 
mother  wish  to  be  torn  from  her  children  ?  " 

"  Obviously,  it  is  possible.  Look  at  us,  mother  ;  we 
are  your  children." 

Then  the  whole  story  came  out,  and  the  father  bade 
his  wife  be  chopped  up  into  bits.  He  tied  the  apprentice 
to  the  tail  of  horses,  and  the  horses  broke  in  every 
direction  and  scattered  his  bones  over  the  fields.  "  Let 
the  dog  die  a  dog's  death  !  "  said  the  old  man.  And  he 


6o 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


gave  all  his  property  to  the  poor  and  went  to  live  in  his 
elder  son's  kingdom. 

But  the  younger  son, smote  his  mare  with  the  back  of 
his  hand  and  said,  "  You  are  a  mare  ;  now  become  a 
maiden  !  "  So  the  mare  turned  into  the  fair  Tsarevna. 
They  made  peace,  became  friends  and  wedded.  It  was 
a  magnificent  wedding. 

I  was  there,  I  drank  mead  and  it  flowed  up  to  my 
beard,  but  none  came  into  my  mouth. 


MARK  THE  RICH 

IN  a  country,  in  a  kingdom  far  away,  once  upon  a  time 
there  lived  a  merchant,  Mark  the  Rich  ;  and,  what 
with  all  his  estates  and  revenues,  you  couldn't  count 
them.  He  lived,  and  was  merry,  and  never  suffered  the 
poor  man  to  come  to  his  door,  so  ungracious  was  he. 

One  day  he  had  a  dream  :  "  Make  ready,  Mark  the 
Rich,  and  wait.  God  Himself  will  be  thy  Guest  !  "  In 
the  morning  Mark  got  up,  called  his  wife,  and  bade  her 
make  a  banquet.  He  covered  all  of  his  courtyard  with 
scarlet  velvet  and  golden  brocade,  and  at  every  side-path 
he  posted  journeymen  and  servants  to  keep  out  all  the 
hunger-brothers  and  scare  them  outside.  Then  Mark 
the  Rich  came,  and  sat  awaiting  the  Lord.  The  hours 
went  by,  and  never  a  guest.  And  then  the  poor  heard 
that  there  was  a  great  feast  at  the  house  of  Mark  the 
Rich.  They  all  gathered  round  for  the  hallowed  gifts ; 
but  the  journeymen  and  servants  drove  them  all  away. 
But  one  poor  beggar,  bent  with  age,  and  all  in  rags,  went 
up  to  the  door  of  Mark  the  Rich.  And  as  Mark  the  Rich 
saw  him  from  the  window,  he  cried  out  in  a  fierce  voice  : 
"  Hi,  you  sluggards  and  louts  !  Eyes  and  no  eyes  ?  Look 
at  the  beast  that  is  traipseing  up  and  down  our  courtyard: 
get  rid  of  him." 

And  all  the  servants  scampered  up,  laid  hold  of  the 
poor  old  fellow,  and  rushed  him  out  the  back  way.  One 
good  old  woman  saw  him,  and  said :  "  Come  to  me, 
you  poor  old  beggar  ;  I  will  feed  and  rest  you."  She 
took  him  in,  fed  him,  gave  him  to  drink,  and  laid  him 

61 


62  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

to  sleep  ;  and  thus  Mark  the  Rich  had  never  found  the 
Lord  for  whom  he  was  waiting. 

At  midnight  the  lady  had  a  dream,  and  heard  some 
one  knock  at  the  window  and  ask :  "  Old  and  righteous 
man,  are  you  sleeping  here  to-night  ?  "  "  Yes,"  said 
the  old  man.  "  In  a  village  near  by  a  poor  peasant  has 
had  a  son  ;  how  will  you  reward  him  ?  "  The  poor  man 
said :  "  He  shall  be  lord  of  all  the  domains  of  Mark  the 
Rich  !  "  Next  day  the  poor  old  man  left  his  hostess  and 
went  forth  to  roam.  The  old  peasant  woman  went  to 
Mark  the  Rich  and  told  him  of  her  dream. 

Mark  went  to  the  peasant  and  asked  for  the  baby. 
"  Give  him  to  me — I  will  adopt  him  ;  he  shall  grow  up  ; 
I  will  teach  him  well ;  and  when  I  die  he  shall  have  all 
my  wealth."  This  was  what  he  said,  but  his  thoughts 
were  quite  different.  He  took  the  little  boy,  went  home, 
and  threw  him  into  a  snow-drift.  "  Lie  there  and  freeze  ; 
that's  the  way  to  become  master  of  Mark's  wealth  !  " 
But  that  same  night  hunters,  passing  by,  hunting  for 
hares,  found  the  boy,  took  him  home,  and  brought 
him  up. 

Many  years  passed  by,  and  much  water  flowed  in  the 
river,  and  one  day  Mark  the  Rich  went  out  with  those 
huntsmen,  saw  the  young  boy,  heard  his  story,  and  spoke 
about  him,  and  knew  it  was  the  same  he  had  cast  forth. 

So  Mark  the  Rich  asked  the  youth  to  go  home  and 
take  a  letter  to  his  wife  ;  but  in  that  letter  he  bade  her 
poison  the  boy  like  a  dog.  The  poor  foundling  set  out 
on  his  road  ;  when  on  his  way,  he  met  a  poor  man  with 
nothing  on  but  a  shirt ;  but  this  beggar  was  Christ 
Himself.  He  stopped  the  wayfarer,  took  the  letter,  and 
held  it  for  one  minute,  and  the  letter  was  changed  in  all 
it  said.  The  wife  of  Mark  the  Rich  was  to  receive  the 
bearer  with  all  honour,  and  marry  him  to  her  daughter. 
It  was  said,  and  it  was  done. 

Mark  the  Rich  returned  home  ;  and  was  very  wroth  at 


MARK  THE  RICH 


seeing  his  new  son-in-law,  and  said :  "  In  the  evening  go 
to  my  distillery  and  look  after  the  work  "  ;  whilst  he 
secretly  told  the  men  to  hunt  him  into  the  burning 
cauldron  as  soon  as  ever  he  appeared.  So  the  boy  made 
ready  to  go  to  the  distillery  ;  but  a  sudden  sickness  befell 
him,  and  he  had  to  go  back  home.  Mark  the  Rich  waited 
his  time,  and  went  to  see  what  had  Become  of  his  son- 
in-law,  and  tumbled  into  his  own  distillers'  clutches, 
into  the  burning  cauldron  ! 


i    ^j 


BY  COMMAND   OF  THE  PRINCE  DANIEL 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  an  aged  queen  who  had  a 

son  and  a  daughter,  who  were   fine,  sturdy  children. 

But  there  was  also  an  evil  witch  who  could  not  bear 

I  them,  and  she  began  to  lay  plots  how  she  might  contrive 

\their  overthrow. 

So  she  went  to  the  old  Queen  and  said :  "  Dear 
Gossip,  I  am  giving  you  a  ring.  Put  it  on  your  son's 
hand,  and  he  will  then  be  rich  and  generous :  only  he 
must  marry  the  maiden  whom  this  ring  fits." 

The  mother  believed  her  and  was  extremely  glad, 
and  at  her  death  bade  her  son  marry  only  the  woman 
whom  the  ring  fitted. 

Time  went  by  and  the  boy  grew  up :  he  became  a 
man  and  looked  at  all  the  maidens.  Very  many  of  them 
he  liked,  only  as  soon  as  he  put  the  ring  on  their  finger 
it  was  either  too  broad  or  too  narrow.  So  he  travelled 
from  village  to  village  and  from  town  to  town,  and 
searched  out  all  the  fair  damsels,  but  he  could  not  find  his 
chosen  one,  and  returned  home  in  a  reflective  mood. 

"  What's  the  matter,  brother  ?  "  his  sister  asked  him. 
So  he  told  her  of  his  trouble,  explained  his  sorrow. 
"  What  a  wonderful  ring  you  have  !  "  said  the  sister. 
"  Let  me  try  it  on."  She  tried  it  on  her  finger,  and  the 
ring  was  firmly  fixed  as  if  it  had  been  soldered  on,  as 
though  it  had  been  made  for  her. 

"  Oh,  sister  !  you  are  my  chosen  bride,  and  you  must 
be  my  wife." 

"  What  a  horrible  idea,  brother  !     That  would  be  a 


sin." 


64 


BY  COMMAND  OF  THE  PRINCE  DANIEL    65 

But  the  brother  would  not  listen  to  a  word  she  said. 
He  danced  for  joy  and  told  her  to  make  ready  for  the 
wedding.  She  wept  bitter  tears,  went  in  front  of  the 
house,  and  sat  on  the  threshold  and  let  her  tears  flow. 

Two  old  beggars  came  up,  and  she  gave  them  to  eat 
and  to  drink.  They  asked  what  her  trouble  was,  and 
she  needs  must  tell  the  two.  "  Now,  weep  no  more, 
but  do  what  we  say.  Make  up  four  dolls  and  put  them 
in  the  four  corners  of  the  room.  After  your  brother 
calls  you  in  for  the  betrothal,  go  ;  and  if  he  calls  you 
into  the  bridal  chamber,  ask  for  time,  trust  in  God,  and 
follow  our  advice."  And  the  beggars  departed. 

The  brother  and  sister  were  betrothed,  and  he  went 
into  the  room  and  cried  out,  "  Sister  mine,  come  in  !  " 

"  I  will  come  in  in  a  moment,  brother  ;  I  am  only 
taking  off  my  earrings." 

And  the  dolls  in  the  four  corners  began  to  sing : 

Coo-Coo — Prince  Danilo 
Coo-Coo — Govorilo 
Coo-Coo — 'Tis  a  brother 
Coo-Coo — Weds  his  sister  : 
Coo-Coo — Earth  must  split  asunder  \ 
Cooo — And  the  sister  lie  hid  under.  •' 

Then  the  earth  rose  up  and  slowly  swallowed  the 
sister. 

And  the  brother  cried  out  again,  "  Sister  mine,  come 
in  to  the  feather-bed  !  " 

"  In  a  minute,  brother.    I  am  undoing  my  girdle." 

Then  the  dolls  began  to  sing : 


Coo-Coo — Prince  Danilo 
Coo-Coo — Govorilo 
Coo-Coo — 'Tis  a  brother 
Coo-Coo — Weds  his  sister  : 
Coo-Coo — Earth  must  split  asunder 
Cooo — And  the  sister  lie  hid  under. 


ier 
er.  ' 


66  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Only  she  had  vanished  now,  all  but  her  head.  And 
the  brother  cried  out  again :  "  Come  into  the  feather- 
bed." 

"  In  a  minute,  brother  ;   I  am  taking  off  my  shoes." 

And  the  dolls  went  on  cooing,  and  she  vanished  under 
the  earth. 

And  the  brother  kept  crying,  and  crying,  and  crying. 
And  when  she  never  returned,  he  became  angry  and 
ran  out  to  fetch  her.  He  could  see  nothing  but  the  dolls, 
which  kept  singing.  So  he  knocked  off  their  heads  and 
threw  them  into  the  stove. 

The  sister  went  farther  under  the  earth,  and  she 
saw  a  little  hut  standing  on  cocks'  feet  and  turning 
round.  "  Hut  !  "  she  cried  out,  "  Stand  as  you  should 
with  your  back  to  the  wood." 

So  the  hut  stopped  and  the  doors  opened,  and  a  fair 
maiden  looked  out.  She  was  knitting  a  cloth  with  gold 
and  silver  thread.  She  greeted  the  guest  friendlily  and 
kindly,  but  sighed  and  said,  "  Oh,  my  darling,  my 
sister  !  Oh,  I  am  so  glad  to  see  you.  I  shall  be  so  glad 
to  look  after  you  and  to  care  for  you  as  long  as  my 
mother  is  not  here.  But  as  soon  as  she  flies  in,  woe  to 
you  and  me,  for  she  is  a  witch." 

When  she  heard  this  the  maiden  was  frightened,  but 
could  not  fly  anywhere.  So  she  sat  down  and  began 
helping  the  other  maiden  at  her  work.  So  they  chat- 
tered along  ;  and  soon,  at  the  right  time  before  the 
mother  came,  the  fair  maiden  turned  her  guest  into  a 
needle,  stuck  her  into  the  besom  and  put  it  on  one  side. 

But    scarcely   had   this    been   done,    when    Baba    Yaga 
.          J  -  — -  ..    « 

carnejn. 

"  Now,  my  fair  daughter,  my  little  child,  tell  me  at 
once,  why  does  the  room  smell  so  of  Russian  bones  ?  " 

"  Mother,  there  have  been  strange  men  journeying 
past  who  wanted  a  drink  of  water." 

"  Why  did  you  not  keep  them  ?  " 


BY  COMMAND  OF  THE  PRINCE  DANIEL    67 

"  They  were  too  old,  mother ;  much  too  tough  a 
snack  for  your  teeth." 

"  Henceforth,  entice  them  all  into  the  house  and 
never  let  them  go.  I  must  now  get  about  again  and 
look  out  for  other  booty." 

As  soon  as  ever  she  had  gone,  the  maidens  set  to  work 
again  knitting,  talking  and  laughing. 

Then  the  witch  came  into  the  room  once  more.  She 
sniffed  about  the  house,  and  said,  "  Daughter,  my 
sweet  daughter,  my  darling,  tell  me  at  once,  why  does 
it  so  smell  of  Russian  bones  ?  " 

"  Old  men  who  were  just  passing  by  who  wanted 
to  warm  their  hands.  I  did  my  best  to  keep  them,  but 
they  would  not  stay." 

So  the  witch  was  angry,  scolded  her  daughter,  and 
flew  away.  In  the  meantime  her  unknown  guest  was 
sitting  in  the  besom. 

The  maidens  once  more  set  to  work,  sewed,  laughed, 
and  thought  how  they  might  escape  the  evil  witch. 
This  time  they  forgot  how  the  hours  were  flying  by, 
and  suddenly  the  witch  stood  in  front  of  them. 

"  Darling,  tell  me,  where  have  the  Russian  bones 
crept  away  ?  " 

"  Here,  my  mother  ;  a  fair  maiden  is  waiting  for  you." 

"  Daughter  mine,  darling,  heat  the  oven  quickly ; 
make  it  very  hot." 

So  the  maiden  looked  up  and  was  frightened  to  death. 
For  Baba  Yaga  with  the  wooden  legs  stood  in  front  of 
her,  and  to  the  ceiling  rose  her  nose.  So  the  mother 
and  daughter  carried  firewood  in,  logs  of  oak  and  maple  ; 
made  the  oven  ready  till  the  flames  shot  up  merrily. 

Then  the  witch  took  her  broad  shovel  and  said  in  a 
friendly  voice :  "  Go  and  sit  on  my  shovel,  fair  child." 

So  the  maiden  obeyed,  and  the  Baba  Yaga  was  going 
to  shove  her  into  the  oven.  But  the  girl  stuck  her  feet 
against  the  wall  of  the  hearth. 


68  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Will  you  sit  still,  girl  ?  " 

But  it  was  not  any  good.  Baba  Yaga  could  not  put 
the  maiden  into  the  oven.  So  she  became  angry,  thrust 
her  back  and  said,  "  You  are  simply  wasting  time  !  Just 
look  at  me  and  see  how  it  is  done."  Down  she  sat  on  the 
shovel  with  her  legs  nicely  trussed  together.  So  the 
maidens  instantly  put  her  into  the  oven,  shut  the  oven 
door,  and  slammed  her  in  ;  took  their  knitting  with 
them,  and  their  comb  and  brush,  and  ran  away. 

They  ran  hard  away,  but  when  they  turned  round 
there  was  Baba  Yaga  running  after  them.  She  had  set 
herself  free.  "  Hoo,  Hoo,  Hoo !  there  run  the  two !  " 
So  the  maidens,  in  their  need,  threw  the  brush  away, 
and  a  thick,  dense  coppice  arose  which  she  could  not 
break  through.  So  she  stretched  out  her  claws,  scratched 
herself  a  way  through,  and  again  ran  after  them.  Whither 
should  the  two  poor  girls  flee  ?  They  flung  their  comb 
behind  them,  and  a  dark,  murky  oak  forest  grew  up,  so 
thick,  no  fly  could  ever  have  flown  its  way  through. 
Then  the  witch  whetted  her  teeth  and  set  to  work. 
And  she  went  on  tearing  up  one  tree  after  another  by 
the  roots,  and  she  made  herself  a  way,  and  again  set  out 
after  them,  and  almost  caught  them  up. 

Now  the  girls  had  no  strength  left  to  run,  so  they 
threw  the  cloth  behind  them,  and  a  broad  sea  stretched 
out,  deep,  wide  and  fiery.  The  old  woman  rose  up, 
wanted  to  fly  over  it,  but  fell  into  the  fire  and  was 
burned  to  death. 

The  poor  maidens,  poor  homeless  doves  !  did  not 
know  whither  to  go.  They  sat  down  in  order  to  rest, 
and  a  man  came  and  asked  them  who  they  were.  He 
told  his  master  that  two  little  birds  had  fluttered  on  to 
his  estate  ;  two  fairest  damsels  similar  in  form  and  shape, 
eye  for  eye  and  line  for  line.  One  was  his  sister,  but 
which  was  it  ?t  He  could  not  guess.  So  the  master 
went  to  both  of  them.  One  was  the  sister — which  ? 


BY  COMMAND  OF  THE  PRINCE  DANIEL   69 

The  servant  had  not  lied  ;   he  did  not  know  them,  and 
she  was  angry  with  him  and  did  not  say. 

"  What  shall  I  do  ?  "  asked  the  master. 

"  Master,  I  will  pour  blood  into  an  ewe-skin,  put  that 
under  my  armpit  and  talk  to  the  maiden.  In  the  mean- 
time I  will  go  by  and  will  stab  you  in  the  side  with  my 
knife  ;  then  blood  will  flow ;  then  your  sister  will 
betray  herself  who  she  is." 

"  Very  well !  " 

As  soon  as  it  was  said  it  was  done.  The  servant  stabbed 
his  master  in  the  side,  and  the  blood  poured  forth,  and 
he  fell  down. 

Then  his  sister  flung  herself  over  him  and  cried  out, 
"  Oh,  my  brother  !  my  darling !  " 

Then  the  brother  jumped  up  again  healthy  and  well. 
He  embraced  his  sister,  gave  her  a  proper  husband,  and 
he  married  her  friend,  for  the  ring  fitted  her  just  as, 
well.     So  they  all  lived  splendidly  and  happily. 


THE   THOUGHTLESS    WORD 

ONCE  upon  a  time  an  old  man  lived  in  a  village  with  his 
wife,  and  they  were  very  poor :  they  had  only  one  son. 
And  when  he  grew  up,  the  mother  said  to  her  husband : 
"  It  is  full  time  that  we  secured  a  wife  for  our  son." 

"  Well,  go  and  see  if  you  can  bargain  for  a  wife." 

The  old  woman  went  to  her  neighbour  and  asked  him 
if  her  son  could  marry  his  daughter.  But  the  neighbour 
said,  "  No  !  "  And  she  went  to  the  next  peasant,  who 
also  declined  the  honour.  And  she  searched  the  whole 
village,  and  not  a  single  soul  would  hear  a  single  word 
of  it.  When  she  came  back  she  said  :  "  Goodman,  I  fear 
our  son  is  born  under  an  unlucky  star  !  " 

"  Why  ?  " 

"  I  went  through  the  whole  village,  and  there  is 
nobody  who  will  give  me  his  daughter." 

"  That  looks  bad  !  "  said  the  husband.  "  It  will  soon 
be  summer,  and  we  shall  not  have  anybody  to  help  us  at 
the  harvest.  Woman,  go  into  the  next  village,  as  you 
may  find  somebody  there." 

The  old  woman  went  to  the  next  village,  went  from 
one  end  to  the  other,  went  through  all  the  courtyards 
and  houses  of  the  peasants,  but  it  was  all  in  vain. 
Wherever  she  showed  her  nose,  she  was  put  off.  And 
she  came  back  home  as  she  had  left.  "  No  one  wants  to 
be  kin  with  such  poor  folk  as  us  !  " 

"  In  that  case  it  is  no  good  running  oneself  off  one's 
legs.  Go  and  sit  behind  the  oven." 

But  the  son  was  indignant,  and  asked :  "  Father,  bless 
me,  and  I  will  go  and  seek  my  own  fate." 

70 


THE  THOUGHTLESS  WORD  71 

"  Where  then  will  you  go  ?  " 

"  Wherever  my  eyes  lead  me  !  " 

So  they  blessed  him  and  they  let  him  go  wherever  the 
four  winds  blow. 

When  the  boy  was  on  the  road,  he  wept  bitterly  and 
spoke  to  himself :  "  Am  I  then  the  feeblest  man  in  the 
world,  and  no  maiden  will  really  have  me  ?  If  the  Devil 
would  only  send  me  a  bride  I  think  I  would  rake  her  !  " 

Suddenly,  just  as  though  he  had  grown  out  of  the 
earth,  an  old  man  came  to  meet  him.  "  Good  day, 
doughty  youth  !  " 

"  Good  day,  old  father  !  " 

'*  What  were  you  saying  just  now  ?  " 

Then  the  boy  was  frightened  and  did  not  know  what 
to  answer. 

"  You  need  not  fear  me.  I  will  do  you  no  harm,  and 
perhaps  I  can  help  you  in  your  need.  Speak  out  boldly." 

So  the  boy  told  him  all  the  truth.  "  Oh,  I  am  a  sorry 
fellow,  and  no  maiden  will  marry  me.  That  is  making 
me  angry  ;  and  I  said  in  my  indignation  that  if  the  Devil 
himself  came  and  gave  me  a  girl,  I  would  make  her  my 
bride." 

So  the  old  man  laughed  and  said :  "  I  can  give  you  a 
bride,  oh,  as  many  brides  as  you  like  "  ;  and  they  then 
came  to  a  lake.  "  Stand  with  your  back  to  the  water, 
and  step  backwards,"  the  old  man  told  the  boy. 

As  soon  as  he  had  turned  round,  and  had  gone  four 
steps,  he  found  himself  under  the  water,  in  a  white  stone 
palace.1  All  the  rooms  were  splendidly  furnished  and 
finely  decorated. 

The  old  man  gave  him  meat  and  drink,  and  afterwards 
showed  him  twelve  maidens,  each  of  whom  was  fairer 
than  the  others.  "  Choose  which  you  will  of  them.  You 
shall  have  any  of  them." 

1  The  Devil  in  this  story  is  the  popular  myth  of  the  water-god  or 
spirit,  The  Vodyan6y. 


72  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  It  is  a  difficult  choice,  grandfather  !  Let  me  have 
till  to-morrow  to  think  of  it." 

"  Well,  you  can  have  until  to-morrow,"  said  the  old 
man,  and  he  took  him  into  a  large  room. 

The  boy  lay  down  to  sleep  and  began  to  think  which 
he  would  take.  Suddenly  the  door  opened  and  a 
beautiful  maiden  came  in.  "  Are  you  asleep,  doughty 
youth,  or  not  ?  " 

"  No,  fair  maiden,  I  cannot  sleep.  I  am  thinking 
which  is  the  bride  I  shall  take." 

"  That  is  the  very  reason  I  came  to  see  you,  in  order 
to  give  you  counsel ;  for,  good  man,  you  have  become 
the  Devil's  guest.  So,  listen  to  me  ;  if  you  ever  wish 
to  return  to  the  light  of  day,  you  must  do  as  I  say.  If 
you  do  not,  you  will  not  leave  this  place  alive." 

"  Give  me  your  counsel,  fair  maiden.  I  shall  not 
forget  it  all  my  life  long." 

"  To-morrow  the  Evil  Spirit  will  show  you  twelve 
maidens,  one  like  the  other.  You  must  choose  me,  and 
look  at  me  very  carefully.  There  will  be  a  patch  over 
my  right  eye  ;  that  will  be  the  sign."  And  the  maiden 
told  him  her  story.  "  Do  you  know  the  pope  in  a 
neighbouring  village  ?  I  am  his  daughter,  and  was 
stolen  from  his  house  nine  years  ago.  One  day  my  father 
was  angry  with  me  and  made  a  hasty  wish  that  the  Devil 
might  take  me.  I  went  in  front  of  the  house  and  cried, 
and  the  Unholy  Spirit  soon  snatched  me  on  the  spot, 
carried  me  here  ;  and  I  have  never  left  the  place  since." 

Next  day  the  old  man  set  the  twelve  maidens  in  a  row 
before  the  boy,  and  commanded  him  to  choose  one  of 
them.  He  looked  until  he  had  seen  the  one  with  the 
patch  over  the  right  eye,  and  chose  her.  The  old  man 
was  angry,  but  he  had  to  give  her  up.  And  he  therefore 
mixed  the  maidens  together  and  told  him  to  make  a 
second  choice.  The  boy  hit  on  the  same  one,  and  after 
a  third  choice  he  took  his  fated  bride. 


THE  THOUGHTLESS  WORD  73 

"  This  has  been  your  piece  of  luck.  Now  take  her 
home  !  " 

All  at  once  the  boy  and  the  maiden  found  themselves 
on  the  bank  of  the  lake,  and  they  walked  backwards  until 
they  reached  the  high  road.  The  Devil  wanted  to  hunt 
after  them  ;  but  all  at  once  the  lake  vanished,  and  there 
was  no  trace  of  the  water. 

When  the  boy  had  taken  his  bride  into  the  village,  he 
stopped  at  the  pope's  house.  The  pope  saw  her,  and 
sent  a  servant  out  and  asked  what  they  desired.  r 

"  We  are  wandering  folk,  and  ask  for  shelter."  \ 

"  I  have  guests  staying  here,  and  my  hut  would  be  tool   _  £ 
small  anyhow."  L  ft 

"  But,  father  !  "  said  the  merchants,  "  wandering  folk 
must  be  always  taken  in  :  they  will  not  disturb  us." 

"  Well,  come  in." 

The  boy  and  the  maiden  came  in,  made  due  greetings, 
and  sat  behind,  on  a  corner  of  the  lire  bank. 

"  Do  you  know  me,  father  ?  I  am  your  own 
daughter  !  "  She  told  him  what  had  happened  ;  and 
they  kissed,  and  embraced,  and  shed  tears  of  joy. 

"  Who  is  he  ?  "  said  the  pope,  pointing  to  the  boy. 

"  That  is  my  own  chosen  bridegroom,  who  brought 
me  back  to  light  of  day,  but  for  whom  I  should  have 
remained  beneath  for  ever ! "  Thereupon  the  fair 
maiden  opened  her  bag,  and  there  were  golden  and 
silver  vessels  in  it  which  she  had  stolen  from  the  devils. 

A  merchant  looked  at  them  and  said  :  "  Those  are  my 
plate.  Once  I  was  dining  with  guests,  and  became 
rather  drunk,  quarrelled  with  my  wife,  and  I  wished 
them  all  to  the  Devil.  And  since  then  all  my  plate  has 
vanished  !  " 

And  this  was  the  truth,  for  as  soon  as  ever  the  man 
mentioned  the  Devil,  the  Evil  Spirit  appeared  on  the 
threshold,  gathered  up  all  the  gold  and  silver  plate, 
threw  skeleton  bones  down  instead. 


\ 


74  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

So  the  boy  got  a  fine  bride,  married  her,  and  drove  to 
see  his  parents.  They  had  long  given  him  up  for  dead, 
and  it  was  no  wonder  ;  for  he  had  been  away  for  three 
years,  although  it  had  seemed  to  him  only  twenty-four 
hours  that  he  had  stayed  with  the  Devil. 


THE  TSARITSA  HARPIST 

IN  a  certain  kingdom  in  a  certain  land  once  there  lived 
a  Tsar  and  a  Tsaritsa.  He  lived  with  her  for  some  time, 
then  he  thought  he  would  go  to  that  far  distant  country 
where  the  Jews  crucified  Christ.  So  he  issued  orders  to 
his  ministers,  bade  farewell  to  his  wife,  and  set  out  on 
his  road. 

It  may-be  far,  it  may-be  short,  he  at  last  reached  that 
distant  land  where  the  Jews  crucified  Christ.  And  in 
that  country  then  the  Accursed  King  was  the  ruler. 
This  King  saw  the  Tsar,  and  he  bade  him  be  seized  and 
lodged  in  the  dungeon.  There  were  many  tortures  in 
that  dungeon  for  him.  At  night  he  must  sit  in  chains, 
and  in  the  morning  the  Accursed  King  used  to  put  a 
horse-collar  on  him  and  make  him  drive  the  plough  until 
the  evening.  This  was  the  torment  in  which  the  Tsar 
lived  for  three  whole  years,  and  he  had  no  idea  how  he 
should  tear  himself  away  or  send  any  news  of  himself 
to  his  Tsaritsa.  And  he  sought  for  some  occasion.  And 
he  wrote  her  this  little  line :  "  Sell,"  he  said,  "  all  my  pos- 
sessions and  come  to  redeem  me  from  my  misfortune." 

When  the  Tsaritsa  received  the  letter  she  read  it 
through  and  said  to  herself,  "  How  can  I  redeem  the 
Tsar  ?  If  I  go  myself,  the  Accursed  King  will  receive 
me  and  will  take  me  to  himself  as  a  wife.  If  I  send  one 
of  the  ministers,  I  can  place  no  reliance  on  him."  So 
what  did  she  advise  ?  She  cut  off  her  red  hair,  went 
and  disguised  herself  as  a  wandering  musician,  took  her 
gusli,  and  never  told  anybody,  and  so  set  out  on  her 
road  and  way. 

75 


76  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

She  arrived  at  the  Accursed  King's  courtyard  and 
began  to  play  the  gusli  so  finely  as  had  never  been  heard 
or  listened  to  for  ages.  When  the  King  heard  such 
wonderful  music  he  summoned  the  harpist  into  the 
palace.  "  Hail,  guslyar  I  From  what  land  have  you 
come  ?  From  what  kingdom  ?  "  asked  the  King. 

"  I  do  not  journey  far  in  the  wide  white  world :  I 
rejoice  men's  hearts  and  I  feed  myself." 

"  Stay  with  me  one  day  and  another  day,  and  a  third, 
and  I  will  reward  you  generously." 

So  the  guslyar  stayed  on,  and  played  for  an  entire  day 
in  front  of  the  King,  and  he  could  never  hear  enough  of 
her.  "  What  wonderful  music  !  why,  it  drove  away  all 
weariness  and  grief  as  though  at  a  breath." 

So  the  guslyar  stayed  with  the  King  three  days,  and 
was  going  to  say  farewell. 

"  What  reward  can  I  offer  you  for  your  labour  ?  " 
asked  the  King. 

"  Oh,  your  Majesty,  give  me  one  prisoner  who  has  sat: 
long  in  the  prison  ;  I  must  have  a  companion  on  the 
road  !  I  wish  to  go  to  foreign  kingdoms,  and  I  have  no 
one  with  whom  I  can  exchange  a  word." 

"  Certainly  !  Select  whom  you  will,"  said  the  King, 
and  he  led  the  guslyar  into  the  prison. 

The  guslyar  looked  at  the  prisoners,  selected  the  Tsar, 
and  they  went  out  to  roam  together. 

As  they  were  journeying  on  to  their  own  kingdom 
the  Tsar  said,  "  Let  me  go,  good  man,  for  I  am  no 
simple  prisoner,  I  am  the  Tsar  himself.  I  will  pay  you 
ransom  for  as  much  as  you  will ;  I  will  grudge  you 
neither  money  nor  service." 

"  Go  with  God,"  said  the  guslyar :  "  I  do  not  need 
you  at  all." 

"  Well,  come  to  me  as  my  guest." 

"  When  the  time  shall  come,  I  will  be  there." 

So  they  parted,  and  each  set  out  on  his  own  way.    The 


THE  TSARlTSA  HARPIST 


77 


Tsaritsa  went  by  a  circuitous  route,  reached  home 
before  her  husband,  took  off  her  guslydr's  dress  and 
arrayed  herself  like  an  empress. 

In  about  one  hour  cries  rang  out  and  the  attendants 
came  up  to  the  palace,  for  the  Tsar  had  arrived.  The 
Tsaritsa  ran  out  to  meet  him,  and  he  greeted  them  all, 
but  he  did  not  look  at  her.  He  greeted  the  ministers 
and  said,  "  Look,  gentlemen,  what  a  wife  mine  is  ! 
Now  she  flings  herself  on  my  neck,  but  when  I  sat  in 
prison  and  sent  her  a  letter  to  sell  all  my  goods  and  to 
redeem  me  she  did  nothing.  Of  what  was  she  thinking 
if  she  so  forgot  her  liege  husband  ?  " 

And  the  ministers  answered  the  Tsar,  "  Your  Majesty, 
on  the  very  day  the  Tsaritsa  received  your  letter  she 
vanished  no  one  knows  where,  and  has  been  away  all  this 
time,  and  she  has  only  just  appeared  in  the  palace." 

Then  the  Tsar  was  very  angry  and  commanded,  "  My 
ministers,  do  ye  judge  my  unfaithful  wife  according  to 
justice  and  to  truth.  Where  has  she  been  roaming  in 
jthe  white  world  ?  Why  did  she  not  try  to  redeem  me  ? 
You  would  never  have  seen  your  Tsar  again  for  ages  of 
eternity,  if  a  young  guslydr  had  not  arrived,  for  whom  I 
(am  going  to  pray  God,  and  I  do  not  grudge  giving  him 
half  my  kingdom." 

In  the  meantime  the  Tsaritsa  got  off  her  throne  and 
ijarrayed  herself  as  the  harpist,  went  into  the  courtyard 
md  began  to  play  the  gusli.  The  Tsar  heard,  ran  to 
leet  her,  seized  the  musician  by  the  hand,  led  her  into 
te  palace  and  said  to  his  Court,  "  This  is  the  guslyar 
who  rescued  me  from  my  confinement."  The  guslyar 
:hen  flung  off  his  outer  garment,  and  they  then  all 
•ecognised  the  Tsaritsa.  Then  the  Tsar  was  overjoyed 
md  for  his  joy  he  celebrated  a  feast  which  lasted  seven 
vhole  days. 


THE  TALE  OF  IVAN  TSAREVICH,  THE  BIR] 
OF  LIGHT,  AND  THE  GREY  WOLF 

r~ 

THERE  was  once,  in  a  certain  kingdom,  a  certain  state, 
where  there  lived  Tsar  Vyslav  Andronovich,  who  had 
three  sons :  the  first  was  called  Dmitri  Tsarevich,  the 
second  Vasili  Tsarevich,  and  the  third  Ivan  Tsarevich^ 
This  Tsar  had  a  garden  so  rich  that  in  no  other  kingdom 
was  there  any  better,  and  in  that  garden  many  rare 
trees  grew  with  fruits  and  without  fruits.  And  the  Tsar 
had  an  apple-tree  which  he  especially  loved,  and  on  that 
apple-tree  all  the  apples  that  grew  were  of  gold.  But 
it  happened  that  the  Bird  of  Light  began  to  fly  to  visit 
Tsar  Vyslav.  The  feathers  of  the  bird  were  all  gold, 
but  the  eyes  were  like  crystal  of  the  East.  It  flew  into 
the  garden  every  night  and  sat  on  the  apple-tree  beloved 
of  Tsar  Vyslav,  and  used  to  pluck  down  the  golden  apples 
and  fly  away.  Tsar  Vyslav  Andronovich  was  deeply 
afflicted,  and  he  called  to  him  his  three  sons  and  said 
to  them  :  "  My  beloved  children,  which  of  you  will  go 
into  my  garden  and  catch  the  Bird  of  Light  ?  He  who 
captures  it  alive,  I  will  in  my  lifetime  give  him  the 
half  of  my  kingdom,  and  at  my  death  he  shall  have 
it  all." 

Then  his  children,  the  Tsarevichi,  said  in  a  single  voice :   ! 
"  Gracious  lord,  our  father,  Your  Imperial  Majesty,  we   j 
will,  with  the  greatest  pleasure,  try  to  catch  the  Bird 
of  Light  alive." 

On  the  first  night  Dmitri  Tsarevich  went  into  the 
garden  and  sat  under  the  apple-tree  from  which  the  Bird 
of  Light  used  to  steal  the  apples ;  but  he  went  to  sleep,  J 

78 


THE  TALE  OF  IVAN  TSAREVICH        79 

and  he  never  heard  when  the  Bird  of  Light  flew  up  and 
again  plucked  off  many  apples. 

In  the  morning  Tsar  Vyslav  Andronovich  called  his 
son  Dmitri  to  him,  and  he  asked  him :  "  Well,  my 
beloved  son,  did  you  see  the  Bird  of  Light,  or  did  you 
not  ?  "  And  he  answered :  "  Father,  gracious  lord, 
this  night  it  did  not  come." 

So  the  next  night  Vasili  Tsarevich  went  to  keep  watch 
in  the  garden.  He  sat  under  the  same  apple-tree,  and 
sat  there  one  hour  and  went  to  sleep  so  soundly  that  he 
never  heard  the  coming  of  the  Bird  of  Light,  which  flew 
on  to  the  tree,  perched  on  it,  and  plucked  many  apples. 

In  the  morning  the  Tsar  called  his  second  son  and 
questioned  him,  and  he  answered :  "  Gracious  lord,  my 
father,  this  night  the  Bird  of  Light  did  not  come." 

And  on  the  third  night  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  into  the 
garden  to  watch,  and  sat  under  the  same  apple-tree  ; 
and  he  waited  one  hour,  a  second  hour,  and  a  third 
hour  ;  and  then  the  whole  garden  lit  up  as  though  it 
shone  with  many  fires,  and  the  Bird  of  Light  flew  in  and 
sat  on  the  apple-tree  and  began  to  pluck  the  apples. 
Ivan  Tsarevich  stole  under  it  so  warily,  and  seized  it  by 
its  tail,  only  he  could  not  keep  hold  of  it ;  and  had  only 
one  feather  out  of  its  tail. 

In  the  morning,  when  Tsar  Vyslav  awoke  from  his 
sleep,  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  to  him,  and  gave  him  the 
feather  of  the  Bird  of  Light.  Tsar  Vyslav  was  very  glad 
that  his  youngest  son  had  succeeded,  although  he  had 
only  a  single  feather  ;  and  this  feather  was  so  marvellous 
and  bright  that  you  had  only  to  take  it  into  some  dark 
attic  and  it  shone  as  bright  as  the  red  sun.  Tsar  Vyslav 
put  the  feather  into  his  cabinet  as  an  article  which  he 
must  keep  for  ever  ;  and  from  that  time  forward  the 
Bird  of  Light  never  flew  into  the  garden. 

Tsar  Vyslav  once  again  called  his  children  unto  him  and 
said,  "  My  beloved  sons,  do  ye  journey  forth :  I  will 


8o  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

2)  give  you  my  blessing.  You  must  seek  for  the  Bird  of 
Light  and  bring  it  to  me  alive  ;  and  what  I  promised  you 
before,  he  who  captures  the  Bird  of  Light  shall  have." 
f^^bmitn  and  Vasili  were  envious  of  their  younger 
brother  Ivan  that  he  had  succeeded  in  pulling  the  feather 
out  of  the  Bird  of  Light's  tail.  But  Ivan  Tsarevich  asked 
leave  of  his  father  and  his  blessing.  Tsar  Vyslav  tried 
to  keep  Ivan  back,  but  he  could  not,  and  he  let  him  go 
at  his  unrelaxing  prayer.  Ivan  Tsarevich  received  his 
*  father's  blessing,  took  his  horse,  and  went  on  his  journey, 
journeying  forth,  not  knowing  whither  he  was  going. 

And  as  he  went  on  the  road  and  way — it  may  be  near, 
it  may  be  far,  it  may  be  high,  it  may  be  low,  the  tale  is 
soon  told,  but  the  deed  is  not  soon  done — at  last  he 
reached  an  open  field  and  green  meadows.  And  in  the 
open  field  there  stood  a  stone  column,  and  on  the  column 
these  words  were  written  : 

"  Whosoever  goes  on  straight  from  this  column,  he 
shall  have  hunger  and  cold.  Whosoever  goes  to 
the  right,  he  shall  have  health  and  life,  but  his 
horse  shall  be  slain.  And  whosoever  goes  to  the 
left,  he  shall  himself  be  slain,  but  his  horse  shall 
have  life  and  be  healthy." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  read  this  inscription,  and  he  went  to 
the  right,  bethinking  himself,  if  his  horse  were  to  be 
slain,  anyhow  he  would  remain  alive.  So  he  went  on 
one  day,  and  a  second  and  a  third  day,  and  suddenly 
a  fierce  grey  Wolf  met  him  and  said :  "  All  hail  to  thee, 
warrior  !  Doughty  of  might,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  hast  thou 
read  how  it  is  written  on  the  column  that  thy  horse  shall 
be  slain  ?  So  why  hast  thou  ridden  this  way  ?  "  And 
the  Wolf,  speaking  these  words,  cleft  the  horse  of  the 
young  Ivan  Tsarevich  in  two  and  went  far  aside. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  wept  bitterly  for  his  horse,  and  he 
went  on  on  foot.  And  he  went  one  whole  day  and  grew 


THE  TALE  OF  I  VAN  TSAREVICH         81 

very,  very  tired  ;  and  when  he  wanted  to  sit  down  and 
to  rest,  suddenly  the  grey  Wolf  came  up  to  him  and 
said  :  "  I  have  pity  for  you,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  that  you  are 
tiring  yourself  going  on  foot.  Come,  sit  on  me — on  the 
grey  Wolf — and  say  whither  I  shall  take  you  and  where- 
fore." Ivan  Tsarevich  told  the  grey  Wolf  where  he 
wanted  to  go,  and  the  grey  Wolf  flew  off  with  him  swifter 
than  any  horse  ;  and,  in  a  short  time,  as  it  might  be  in  a 
single  night,  he  conducted  Ivan  Tsarevich  to  a  stone  wall, 
stopped,  and  said  :  "  Now,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  jump  off  me 
— off  the  grey  Wolf — and  go  through  this  stone  wall. 
There  is  a  garden  behind  the  wall,  and  in  that  garden 
the  Bird  of  Light  is  sitting  in  a  golden  cage.  You  must 
take  the  Bird  of  Light,  but  you  must  not  touch  the  golden 
cage,  or  they  will  capture  you  at  once." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  slipped  through  the  stone  wall  into  the 

garden,  saw  the  Bird  of  Light  in  the  golden  cage,  and  was 

very  pleased.    He  took  the  Bird  out  of  the  cage,  and  was 

going  back,  and  then  he  thought  and  said  to  himself : 

;'  Why  should  I  take  the  Bird  of  Light  without  the  cage  ? 

Where  shall  I  put  it  ?  "    So  he  turned  back,  and  as  soon 

j  as  ever  he  had  taken  the  golden  cage  there  was  a  clamour 

i  and  a  clangour  in  the  garden  as  though  there  were  ropes 

j  attached  to  the  cage.     All  the  watchmen  woke  up,  ran 

up  into  the  garden,  seized  Ivan  Tsarevich  with  the  Bird 

i  of  Light,  and  took  him  to  their  Tsar,  who  was  called 

Dolmat. 

'  Tsar  Dolmat  was  very  angry  with  Ivan  Tsarevich,  and 

shrieked  in  a  wrathful  tone  :    "  Are  you  not  ashamed  of 

I1  yourself,  young  man,  to  come  stealing  ?    Who  are  you — 

liof  what  land  ?    Who  was  your  father  ?     How  do  they 

call  you  on  earth  ?  " 

Ivan  Tsarevich  answered  him :     "  I  am  the  son  of 
'  Tsar  Vyslav  Andronovich,  and  they  call  me  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich.    Your  Bird  of  Light  flew  into  the  garden  every 
,  night  and  stole  the  golden  apples  from  the  apple-tree 


82  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

my  father  loved,  and  for  that  reason  my  father  sent  me 
to  seek  the  Bird  of  Light  and  to  take  it  to  him." 

"  Oh,  thou  brave  youth,  Ivan  Tsarevich ! "  Tsar 
Dolmat  cried.  "  I  would  certainly  have  given  you  the 
bird,  but  what  did  you  do  ?  If  you  had  come  to  me, 
i  should  have  given  you  the  Bird  of  Light  as  an  honour  ; 
but,  now,  would  it  be  well,  were  I  to  send  you  into  all 
^°  kingdoms  to  proclaim  how  you  came  into  my  realm  and 
dealt  dishonourably  ?  Now  listen,  Ivan  Tsarevich.  If 
you  will  do  me  this  service,  if  you  will  go  across  thrice 
nine  kingdoms  into  the  thrice-tenth  realm,  and  will 
there  obtain  me  from  Tsar  Afron  the  golden-maned  horse, 
I  will  forgive  your  sin,  and  I  will  give  you  the  Bird  of 
Light,  and  will  do  you  great  honour." 

And  Ivan  Tsarevich  became  very  sorrowful,  and  left 
Tsar  Dolmat,  found  the  grey  Wolf,  and  told  him  of 
f     everything. 

"  Hail   to   thee,   warrior,   doughty  of   might  !  "   the 
grey  Wolf  said  to  him.    "  Why  did  you  not  listen  to  my 
words  ?    Why  did  you  take  the  golden  cage  ?  " 
y"  I  am  guilty,"  Ivan  Tsarevich  said  to  the  Wolf. 
/  "  Well,  so  be  it,"  said  the  grey  Wolf.    "  Sit  on  me — 
[on  the  grey  Wolf.    I  will  take  you  wherever  you  wish." 
I     Ivan  Tsarevich  sat  on  the  grey  Wolf's  back,  and  the 
Wolf  chased  as  fast  as  a  dart  and  ran  may-be  far,  may-be 
near,  and  at  last  he  reached  the  kingdom  of  Tsar  Afron 
at  night-time  ;    and  when  he  had  come  to  the  white- 
stoned  stables  of  the  Tsar,  the  grey  Wolf  said  to  Ivan 
Tsarevich :     "  Get    down,    Ivan,    go    into    the    white- 
'V     stoned  stables,  and  take  the  golden-maned  horse  ;    only 
there  hangs  a  golden  bridle  on  the  wall  which  you  are 
not  to  touch,  or  it  will  go  ill  with  you." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  went  into  the  white-stoned  stables, 

took  the  horse,  and  went  back.     But  he  saw  the  golden 

i,     bridle  on  the  wall,  and  when  his  glance  fell  on  it  he  took 

it  from  the  hook.    And  as  soon  as  he  touched  it  there  was 


THE  TALE  OF   IVAN  TSAREVICH         83 

a  clangour  and  a  clamour  throughout  all  the  stables  as 
though  there  were  ropes  attached  to  the  bridle.  All  the 
watchmen  woke  up,  ran  into  the  stable,  seized  Ivan 
^°Tsarevich  with  the  golden-maned  steed  and  took  him  to 
their  Tsar  Afron. 

Tsar  Afron  was  very  angry  with  Ivan  Tsarevich,  and 
asked  him  who  he  was,  who  was  his  father,  and  what 
was  his  name.  When  lyan  had  told  him  also  of  his  errand, 
he  said  :  "  I  would  have  certainly  given  you  the  golden- 
maned  horse  if  you  had  asked  me  for  it,  but  since  you 
have  dealt  thus  dishonourably  with  me,  you  must  do 
me  this  service,  and  then  I  will  give  you  the  golden- 
maned  horse  with  the  bridle :  you  must  ride  across 
thrice-nine  lands  into  the  thrice-tenth  kingdom  and  gain 
me  Princess  Elena  the  Fair,  whom  I  have  for  long  loved 
with  all  my  heart  and  soul,  but  cannot  gain.  In  return 
for  this  I  will  forgive  you,  and  give  you  what  you  sought 
as  an  honour :  but  if  you  do  not  do  me  this  service  I 
will  proclaim  throughout  all  the  realms  of  the  world 
that  you  are  a  dishonourable  thief." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  went  out  of  the  palace  and  began  to 
weep  bitterly :  then  he  came  to  the  grey  Wolf  and 
related  how  it  had  gone  with  him. 

"  Hail  to  thee,  brave  warrior,  doughty  of  might !  " 
the  grey  Wolf  said.  "  Why  did  you  not  listen  to  my 
words,  and  take  the  golden  bridle  ?  5: 

"  I  have  been  guilty  before  you,"  said  Ivan  Tsarevich. 

"  Well,  so  be  it,"  the  grey  Wolf  went  on.  "  Sit  on  my 
back,  on  the  grey  Wolf :  I  will  take  you  wherever  you 
require." 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  sat  on  the  grey  Wolf's  back,  and  the 
grey  Wolf  scoured  as  fast  as  a  dart,  and  at  last  he 
arrived  at  the  kingdom  of  Princess  Elena  the  Fair,  to 
)the  golden  palisade  which  surrounded  the  wonderful 
garden  ;  and  the  Wolf  said  to  the  Tsarevich :  "  Ivan 
3 1  Tsarevich,  slip  off  my  back,  off  the  grey  Wolf,  and  go 


84  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

behind  on  that  road  and  wait  for  me  in  the  open  field 
under  the  green  oak."  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  as  he  was 
bidden,  and  the  grey  Wolf  sat  near  the  golden  palisade, 
waiting  until  Princess  Elena  the  Fair  should  come  into 
the  garden  to  walk. 

In  the  evening,  when  the  little  sun  was  setting  fast 
to  the  West,  Princess  Elena  the  Fair  went  into  the  garden 
to  take  a  walk  with  all  of  her  maids  of  honour  and  servants 
and  attendants  and  all  the  boyaryni1  around.  WTien  she 
came  to  the  place  where  the  grey  Wolf  sat  behind  the 
railing,  suddenly  the  grey  Wolf  leapt  across  the  grating 
to  the  garden,  seized  Princess  Elena  the  Fair,  leapt  back 
and  ran  away  with  all  his  might  and  strength.  He  then 
went  into  the  open  field  under  the  green  oak  where 
Ivan  Tsarevich  was  waiting,  and  said,  "  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
come  sit  on  my  back,  on  the  grey  Wolf  swiftly."  Ivan 
Tsarevich  sat  on  him,  and  the  grey  Wolf  scoured  off 
with  them  both  fast  to  the  kingdom  of  Tsar  Afron. 

All  the  maids  of  honour  and  servants  and  attendants 
and  boyaryni  ran  swiftly  into  the  palace  and  began  to  set 
a  hunt  on  foot,  but  however  many  the  hunters  that 
hunted,  they  could  not  hunt  down  the  grey  Wolf,  and 
so  they  all  turned  back  home  again  frustrated. 

Ivan  Tsarevich,  seated  on  the  grey  Wolf's  back  with 
Princess  Elena  the  Fair,  fell  in  love  with  her  and  she 
with  him :  and  when  the  grey  Wolf  arrived  at  the 
garden  of  Tsar  Afron,  the  Tsarevich  grew  very  sad  and 
began  to  weep  tears. 

The  grey  Wolf  asked  him,  "  Why  are  you  weeping, 
Tsarevich  ?  " 

And  Ivan  Tsarevich  answered  him,  "  O  my  friend, 
the  grey  Wolf,  how  shall  it  be  to  me,  the  doughty  youth, 
not  to  weep,  not  to  be  afflicted  ?  I  love  Princess  Elena 
the  Fair  with  all  my  heart,  and  now  I  must  give  her  up 
to  Tsar  Afron  in  exchange  for  the  golden-maned  horse : 

1  Countesses. 


THE  TALE  OF  IVAN  TSAREVICH         85 

and,  if  I  do  not  give  her  up,  then  Tsar  Afron  will  dis- 
honour me  throughout  all  the  kingdoms." 

"  I  have  served  you  well,  Ivan  Tsarevich,"  the  grey 
Wolf  replied,  "  and  I  will  serve  you  yet  this  service. 
Listen,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  I  will  turn  myself  into  the  fair 
Princess  Elena,  and  you  will  take  me  to  Tsar  Afron  and 
be  given  the  golden-maned  horse :  he  will  then  take 
me  as  his  queen,  and  when  you  sit  on  the  golden-maned 
horse  and  you  ride  far  away,  then  I  will  ask  Tsar  Afron 
leave  to  walk  in  the  open  field,  and  when  he  lets  me  go 
with  the  maids  of  honour  and  servants  and  serving- 
maids  and  attendants  and  the  boydryni,  then  think  of 
me,  and  I  shall  be  with  you  once  again." 

His  speech  finished,  the  grey  Wolf  struck  the  grey 
earth  and  he  turned  himself  into  Princess  Elena. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  took  the  grey  Wolf  and  went  into  the 
palace  of  Tsar  Afron  together  with  the  supposed  Elena 
the  Fair.  Then  the  Tsar  was  very  joyous  in  his  heart 
that  he  had  received  such  a  treasure,  which  he  had  been 
desiring  for  long,  and  he  gave  the  golden-maned  horse 
to  Ivan  Tsarevich.  Ivan  Tsarevich  sat  on  the  horse, 
and  he  went  behind  the  town  and  he  placed  Elena  the 
Fair  on  it,  and  they  went  away,  taking  their  road  to  the 
kingdom  of  Tsar  Dolmat. 

The  grey  Wolf  stayed  one  day  with  Tsar  Afron,  and 
a  second  day  and  a  third  in  the  stead  of  fair  Princess 
Elena.  And  then  he  asked  leave  of  Tsar  Afron  to  go  and 
walk  in  the  open  field,  that  he  might  drive  out  the 
ravening  sorrow  from  his  heart.  Then  Tsar  Afron  said 
to  him :  "  O  my  fair  Queen  Elena,  I  will  do  anything 
for  you,"  and  he  promptly  bade  the  maids  of  honour, 
the  servants,  the  attendants  and  the  boydryni  to  go 
with  him  and  the  fair  Princess  into  the  open  field  to 
walk. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  went  on  his  way  and  rode  with  Elena 
the  Fair,  and  they  had  almost  forgotten  the  grey  Wolf, 


86  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

when  he  suddenly  recollected :  "  Oh,  where  is  my  grey 
Wolf  ?  " 

Then,  from  some  source  unknown,  he  stood  in  front 
of  Ivan  Tsarevich  and  said,  "  Sit  on  me,  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
on  the  grey  Wolf,  and  the  fair  Princess  can  go  on  the 
golden-maned  steed." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  sat  on  the  grey  Wolf,  and  so  they  went 
on  to  the  realm  of  Tsar  Dolmat,  may-be  far  or  near ; 
and  when  they  reached  that  kingdom  then  they  stopped 
three  versts  out  of  the  town,  and  Ivan  began  to  beseech 
the  grey  Wolf :  "  Listen  to  me,  my  beloved  friend,  the 
grey  Wolf ;  you  have  served  me  so  many  services, 
serve  me  a  last :  can  you  not  turn  yourself  into  the 
golden-maned  horse  ?  " 

Then  the  grey  Wolf  struck  the  grey  earth  and  became 
the  golden-maned  horse  ;  and  Ivan  Tsarevich  left  the 
Fair  Elena  in  the  green  meadow,  sat  on  the  grey  Wolf 
and  went  into  the  palace  to  Tsar  Dolmat ;  and  as  soon  as 
ever  Tsar  Dolmat  saw  Ivan  Tsarevich,  that  he  was  riding 
the  golden-maned  horse,  he  came  out  of  his  palace, 
met  the  Tsarevich  in  the  open  courtyard,  kissed  him  on 
his  smooth  cheeks,  took  him  by  his  right  hand  and  led 
him  into  the  white-stoned  palace.  Tsar  Dolmat  for  such 
a  joy  bade  a  feast  be  prepared,  and  they  sat  at  the  oaken 
tables  by  the  chequered  table-cloths,  and  they  ate, 
drank  and  made  merry  for  two  days.  On  the  third 
day  Tsar  Dolmat  delivered  to  Ivan  the  Bird  of  Light 
with  the  golden  cage.  The  Tsarevich  took  the  golden 
Bird,  went  outside  the  town,  sat  on  the  golden-maned 
horse  together  with  the  Princess  Elena,  and  went  back 
to  his  own  country. 

Tsar  Dolmat  thought  the  next  day  he  would  take  his 
golden-maned  horse  into  the  open  fields,  and  as  soon  as 
ever  he  had  angered  the  horse,  it  reared  and  was  turned 
into  a  great  grey  Wolf  who  raced  off. 

When  it  came  up  with  Ivan  Tsarevich  it  said,  "  Sit 


THE  TALE  OF  IVAN  TSARfiVICH         87 

on  me,  on  the  grey  Wolf,  and  Princess  Elena  the  Fair 
she  can  ride  on  the  golden-maned  horse." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  sat  on  the  grey  Wolf  and  they  went  a 
third  journey.  Soon  the  grey  Wolf  took  Ivan  Tsarevich 
to  the  place  where  he  had  cleft  his  horse  in  two,  and 
said :  "  Now,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  I  have  served  you  well, 
faithfully  and  truly :  on  this  spot  I  cleft  your  horse  in 
two,  and  up  to  this  spot  I  have  brought  you  again : 
slip  off  me,  off  the  grey  Wolf ;  now  you  have  your 
golden-maned  horse,  I  can  serve  you  no  more." 

The  grey  Wolf  spoke  these  words  and  went  into  the 
forest ;  and  Ivan  Tsarevich  wept  bitterly  for  the  grey 
Wolf,  and  went  on  his  road  with  the  fair  Elena  on  the 
golden-maned  horse.  And  before  he  reached  his  own 
kingdom  and  when  he  was  only  twenty  versts  off,  he 
stopped,  got  off  his  horse,  and  together  with  the  fair 
Elena  went  under  a  tree :  he  tied  the  golden-maned 
horse  to  that  same  tree,  and  he  took  the  cage  with  the 
Bird  of  Light  with  him  ;  and  lying  on  the  grass  engaged 
in  loving  conversations  they  went  to  sleep. 

Now  it  happened  at  this  time  that  the  brothers  of 
Ivan  Tsarevich,  Dmitri  and  Vasfli,  were  riding  out  in 
different  states  and  could  not  find  the  Bird  of  Light. 
They  were  just  returning  to  their  kingdom  with  empty 
hands,  and  they  were  provoked.  And  they  lit  upon  their 
sleeping  brother  with  the  fair  Princess  Elena.  When 
they  saw  the  golden-maned  horse  and  the  Bird  of  Light 
in  the  golden  cage  on  the  grass  they  were  delighted, 
and  thought  that  they  would  slay  their  brother  Ivan 
Tsarevich.  Dmitri  took  his  sword  out  of  his  sheath  and 
cleft  Ivan  Tsarevich,  and  then  he  roused  the  fair  Princess 
Elena  and  began  to  ask  her :  "  Fair  maiden,  from  what 
kingdom  art  thou,  who  was  thy  father,  how  do  they  call 
thee  on  earth  ?  " 

And  the  fair  Princess  Elena,  seeing  Ivan  Tsarevich 
dead,  was  sore  afraid,  and  with  bitter  tears  spake.  "  I 


88  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

am  Princess  Elena  the  Fair  ;   and  Ivan  Tsarevich  found 
me,  whom  ye  have  slain,  whom  ye  have  given  over  to  ai 
evil  death  :    if  ye  were  good  champions,  ye  would  have 
gone  with  him  into  the  open  field  and  have  slain  hii 
in  fair  fight.    But  ye  have  slain  him  in  his  sleep,  and 
shall  ye  receive  praise  ?     Is  not  a  man  asleep  as  on< 
dead  ?  " 

Then  Dmitri  Tsarevich  put  his  sword  to  the  breast  of 
fair  Princess  Elena  :  "  Listen,  Elena  the  Fair,  you  are 
now  in  our  hands  :  we  will  take  you  to  our  father, 
Tsar  Vyslav  Andronovich,  and  you  are  to  tell  him  that 
we  found  you  and  the  Bird  of  Light  and  the  golden-maned 
steed.  If  you  do  not  say  this,  we  will  slay  you  at  once." 

Princess  Elena  the  Fair  was  frightened  to  death,  and 
swore  by  all  the  holy  relics  that  she  would  do  as  she  was 
bidden.  Then  Dmitri  Tsarevich  and  Vasfli  Tsarevich 
began  to  cast  lots  who  should  have  the  fair  Princess 
Elena  and  who  should  have  the  golden-maned  horse, 
and  the  lot  fell  that  the  fair  Princess  Elena  should  belong 
to  Vasili  and  the  horse  to  Dmitri. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  lay  down  dead  on  that  spot  for  thirty 
days,  and  in  that  time  the  grey  Wolf  ran  up  to  him  and 
he  recognised  Ivan  Tsarevich  by  his  breath,  and  he 
wished  to  help  him  and  revive  him,  but  he  did  not  know 
how.  Then  at  that  time  he  saw  a  crow  and  two  nestlings 
flying  round  the  body,  who  wished  to  land  there  and  to 
eat  the  flesh  of  Ivan  Tsarevich.  The  grey  Wolf  sprang 
from  behind  the  bush,  laid  hold  of  one  of  the  nestlings 
and  was  going  to  tear  it  in  two.  Then  the  crow  flung 
himself  on  earth  and  sat  not  far  from  the  grey  Wolf 
on  the  fields.  "  Don't  touch  my  child  ;  it  has  not  done 
you  any  harm  !  " 

"  Listen,  Voron  Voronovich  :  I  will  not  touch  yoi 
son  if  you  will  do  me  a  service  ;  to  fly  across  thrice-ninc 
lands  into  the  thrice-tenth  realm  and  bring  me  the 
waters  of  Life  and  Death." 


THE  TALE  OF  IVAN  TSAREVICH         89 

Then  the  crow  said,  "  Grey  Wolf,  I  will  do  this  service  ; 
only  do  not  touch  my  son."  And  the  crow  spoke  these 
words  and  flew  away. 

On  the  third  day  the  crow  flew  back  and  brought  with 
him  two  phials :  in  one  was  the  water  of  Life  and  in  the 
other  the  water  of  Death.  And  he  gave  these  to  the 
grey  Wolf  ;  and  the  grey  Wolf  took  the  phials,  cut  the 
nestling  into  two,  sprinkled  him  with  the  dead  water, 
and  the  nestling  grew  together  ;  then  he  sprinkled  him 
with  the  water  of  Life,  and  the  nestling  shook  himself 
and  flew  away. 

Then  the  grey  Wolf  sprinkled  Ivan  Tsarevich  with  the 
water  of  Death,  and  his  body  clove  together  ;  and  he 
sprinkled  him  then  with  the  water  of  Life,  and  Ivan 
Tsarevich  stood  up  alive  and  said :  "  Oh,  what  a  long 
sleep  I  have  had  !  " 

And  the  grey  Wolf  said  to  him,  "  Yes,  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
you  might  have  slept  for  ever  if  I  had  not  been  here : 
for  your  brothers  have  plundered  you,  and  they  have 
taken  Princess  Elena  the  Fair  and  the  golden-maned 
horse  and  the  Bird  of  Light  with  them.  Now  listen, 
and  return  to  your  kingdom  as  fast  as  you  can :  your 
brother  Vasili  is  to-day  going  to  marry  your  bride, 
Princess  Elena  the  Fair.  You  must  hasten  there  as  fast 
as  possible.  Sit  on  "me,  on  the  grey  Wolf,  and  I  will 
take  you  there." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  sat  on  the  grey  Wolf,  and  the  Wolf  ran 
with  him  into  the  kingdom  of  Tsar  Vyslav  Andronovich, 
and,  whether  it  be  long  or  whether  it  be  far  or  whether 
it  be  near,  they  reached  the  town.  Ivan  Tsarevich  slipped 
off  the  grey  Wolf  and  went  into  the  town  and  arrived 
at  the  palace,  and  waited  until  his  brother  had  returned 
with  the  Princess  from  the  crowning  ;  and  they  were 
sitting  down  at  table. 

When  Elena  the  Fair  saw  Ivan  Tsarevich,  she  jumped 
up  at  once  from  her  chair  and  began  to  kiss  his  sweet 


90  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

^  lips  and  to  cry  out,  "  O  my  beloved  bridegroom,  Ivan 
Tsarevich:  this  is  he,  and  not  that  other  who  sits  at 
table." 

Then  Tsar  Vyslav  Andronovich  stood  up  from  his  place 
and  began  to  ask,  and  began  to  question  the  Princess 
Elena  the  Fair  what  this  might  mean.  Then  the  fair 
Princess  told  him  all  the  real  truth,  how  it  had  been. 

Tsar  Vyslav  Andronovich  was  then  very  wroth  with 
Dmitri  and  Vasili  and  sent  them  into  the  darkness  of 

*7  the  dungeon.  Ivan  Tsarevich  married  Princess  Elena 
the  Fair  and  lived  with  her  friendlywise  and  lovingly, 
so  that  one  might  never  be  seen  anywhere  without  the 

^    other. 


THE  PRIEST  WITH  THE  ENVIOUS  EYES 

THERE  was  once  a  priest  who  lived  in  the  parish  of  St. 
Nicholas.  He  served  St.  Nicholas  for  some  years,  and  all 
his  earnings  were  that  he  had  neither  house  nor  home,  nor 
a  roof  over  his  head.  So  our  good  priest  got  together 
all  his  keys,  and  seeing  the  icon  of  St.  Nicholas,  struck  it 
down,  and  left  his  parish  to  go  whithersoever  his  eyes 
should  guide  him.  And  he  went  roaming  on  his  way. 

Suddenly  an  unknown  man  met  him.  "  How  do  you 
do,  good  man  ?  "  he  said  to  the  pope.1  "  Whither  are 
you  going  ?  and  whence  do  you  come  ?  "  "  Take  me 
with  you  as  a  companion."  So  they  went  off  together. 
They  went  on  some  versts,  and  became  tired.  It  was 
time  to  rest. 

Now  the  pope  had  two  biscuits,  and  his  new  friend 
had  two  wafers.  The  pope  said  to  him :  "  We  will  first 
of  all  eat  up  your  wafers,  and  we  will  then  go  on  with 
the  biscuits." 

"  All  right !  "  the  unknown  man  said  to  him.  "  Let 
us  first  eat  up  my  wafers,  and  leave  your  biscuits  for  a 
dessert." 

So  they  ate  the  wafers,  ate  them  all  up,  and  they  were 
fully  sated,  and  there  were  still  wafers  over. 

So  the  pope  became  envious.  "  Why,"  he  thought, 
"  I  will  steal  them."  The  old  man  lay  down  to  sleep 
after  dinner,  and  the  pope  was  all  agog  to  see  how  he 
could  steal  those  wafers.  The  old  man  went  to  sleep  ; 
so  the  pope  abstracted  the  wafers  from  his  pocket  and. 
silently  began  eating  them. 


92  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

The  old  man  woke  up  and  felt  for  his  wafers,  and 
could  not  find  them  anywhere.  "  Where  are  my  wafers  ? 
Who  has  eaten  them  up  ?  Have  you,  pope  ?  " 

"  No,  I  did  not,"  answered  the  pope. 

"  Well,  all  right ;   I  don't  mind." 

So  they  shook  themselves  up,  and  they  went  on  their 
way  and  journey,  went  on  and  on,  and  the  roads  suddenly 
divided  and  they  came  to  a  carfax.  So  they  both  went 
on  a  single  road  and  arrived  at  a  kingdom.  Now,  in  this 
kingdom  the  Tsar's  daughter  was  near  her  death,  and 
the  Tsar  had  promised  any  one  who  should  cure  her  half 
of  his  reign  and  rule  and  realm  ;  but  any  one  who  failed 
was  to  have  his  head  cut  off  and  placed  on  a  pole. 

When  they  arrived  in  front  of  the  Tsar's  courtyard, 
they  got  themselves  up  finely,  and  they  called  themselves 
doctors.  The  henchmen  sallied  out  of  the  Tsar's  court- 
yard, and  asked  them :  "  What  sort  of  people  are  you  ? 
What  is  your  race  ?  What  is  your  city  ?  What  do  you 
require  ?  " 

"  We,"  they  answered,  "  are  doctors,  and  we  can  cure 
the  Tsarevna." 

"  Well,  if  you  are  doctors,  come  into  the  palace." 

So  they  went  into  the  palace,  looked  at  the  Tsarevna, 
asked  for  special  huts  from  the  Tsar,  for  a  can  of 
water,  for  a  curved  sabre,  and  a  large  table.  The  Tsar 
gave  them  all  they  required. 

They  then  locked  themselves  up  in  the  huts,  tied  the 
princess  down  on  the  big  table,  cut  her  up  with  the 
curved  sabre  into  little  bits,  put  them  all  into  the 
cauldron,  washed  them,  and  rinsed  them  out.  Then 
they  began  to  put  them  together — bit  by  bit,  fragment 
by  fragment.  And  the  old  man  breathed  on  them. 
Piece  clove  to  piece,  and  made  one.  Then  he  took  all 
the  pieces,  breathed  on  them  for  the  last  time,  and  the 
princess  trembled  all  over,  and  woke  alive  and  well. 

The    Tsar    himself    came  into   their  hut.     "  In  the 


THE  PRIEST  WITH  THE  ENVIOUS  EYES      93 

Name  of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy 
Ghost  !  " 

"  Amen  !  "  they  answered. 

"  Have  you  cured  the  Tsarevna  ?  "  asked  the  Tsar. 

"  Yes,"  the  doctors  answered — "  there  she  is  !  "  The 
Tsarevna  came  out  with  the  Tsar  alive  and  well. 

The  Tsar  said  to  the  doctors  :  "  What  good  thing  do 
you  desire — gold  or  silver  ?  Ask  and  you  shall  have." 
So  they  began  to  bring  gold  and  silver.  And  the  old  man 
took  as  much  as  he  could  take  with  his  thumb  and  two 
fingers,  but  the  pope  took  it  by  handfuls,  and  he  rammed 
it  all  into  his  wallet  and  hid  it  away,  concealed  it,  lifted 
it  up  as  much  as  ever  his  power  could. 

The  old  man  then  said  to  the  pope  :  "  Let  us  bury  all 
the  money  in  the  earth  and  again  go  a-healing." 

So  they  went  on  and  went  on,  and  they  arrived  at 
another  kingdom  in  which  there  also  was  a  princess  on 
the  verge  of  death,  and  the  Tsar  promised  any  one  who 
should  cure  her  half  of  his  realm  and  rule  and  reign  ; 
but  any  one  who  failed  was  to  have  his  head  cut  off. 

But  the  Evil  One  was  tempting  the  envious  pope — 
how  he  should  manage  to  tell  nothing  to  the  old  man, 
but  to  cure  her  by  himself,  and  so  get  all  the  gold  and 
silver  for  himself.  So  he  dubbed  himself  a  doctor, 
arrayed  himself  finely,  and  arrived  at  the  Tsar's  court- 
yard, just  as  they  had  done  before.  In  the  same  way  he 
asked  for  the  same  implements  from  the  Tsar,  shut 
himself  up  in  the  special  hut,  tied  the  princess  down  on 
the  table,  took  out  the  curved  sabre  ;  and  however  much 
the  Tsarevna  might  cry  out  and  wriggle,  the  pope  dis- 
regarded all  her  shrieks,  and  all  her  yelpings,  poor  girl, 
and  cut  her  to  bits  like  mincemeat.  He  then  cut  it  all 
up  fine,  threw  it  into  the  cauldron,  washed  it  and  rinsed 
it,  took  it  out,  put  piece  to  piece  exactly  the  same  as 
the  old  man  had  done.  And  he  then  wanted  to  put 
them  altogether,  breathed  on  them — and  nothing  hap- 


94  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

pened  !  He  pumped  his  lungs  out,  but  nothing  hap- 
pened. It  was  all  to  no  purpose.  So  he  put  all  the  frag- 
ments back  into  the  water,  rinsed  and  scoured  them 
through,  fitting  the  pieces  together,  and  breathed  on 
them.  It  was  all  of  no  good. 

"  Oh,  whatever  shall  I  do  ?  "  the  pope  thought. 
"  This  is  simply  horrible  !  " 

In  the  morning  the  Tsar  went  to  him  and  saw  that 
the  doctor  had  had  no  luck.  He  had  mixed  up  the  whole 
body  on  the  floor.  So  the  Tsar  ordered  the  doctor  to 
the  gallows. 

The  pope  then  began  to  beg.  "  Tsar  !  Tsar  !  I  am 
a  free  man.  Give  me  a  short  space  of  time.  I  will  go 
and  look  out  for  another  old  man  who  can  really  cure 
the  Tsarevna."  So  the  pope  went  to  look  for  the  old 
man,  found  him,  and  said :  "  Old  man,  I  am  a  depraved 
sinner.  The  fiends  tempted  me.  I  wanted  to  cure  the 
Tsar's  daughter  all  by  myself,  and  I  was  not  able,  and 
they  are  now  going  to  hang  me.  Do  come  and  help 
me!" 

So  the  old  man  went  with  the  pope,  and  the  noose 
was  put  round  the  pope's  neck.  Then  the  old  man  said 
to  the  pope :  "  Pope,  who  ate  up  my  wafers  ?  " 

"  I  really  didn't ;   I  swear  I  didn't  !  " 

So  they  made  him  mount  one  rung  higher,  and  again 
the  old  man  said  to  him :  "  Pope,  who  ate  my  wafers 
up  ?  " 

"  I  really  didn't ;   I  swear  I  didn't !  " 

So  he  went  up  the  third  rung,  and  again  said  he  didn't. 
This  time  he  had  his  head  in  the  noose  tight,  and  still  he 
said :  "  I  did  nothing  of  the  sort  !  " 

So  the  old  man  said  to  the  Tsar :  "  I  am  a  free  man. 
Will  you  let  me  cure  the  Tsarevna,  and  if  I  do  not  succeed, 
have  a  second  noose  got  ready  for  my  neck :  one  for  me 
and  one  for  the  pope." 

Then  the  old  man  took  the  morsels  of  the  Tsarevna's 


THE  PRIEST  WITH  THE  ENVIOUS  EYES      95 

body,  bit  by  bit,  breathed  on  them,  and  she  arose  alive 
and  well. 

Then  the  Tsar  rewarded  them  both  with  gold  and 
silver. 

"  Now  let  us  go  and  divide  the  money,"  said  the  old 
man. 

So  they  started.  They  put  all  the  money  into  three 
little  piles,  and  the  pope  looked  on,  and  said :  "  What 
do  you  mean  ?  There  are  only  two  of  us.  Who  is  to 
have  the  third  ?  " 

Said  the  old  man :  "  That  is  for  the  thief  who  ate  up 
my  wafers." 

"  Oh,  it  was  I  who  ate  them  up  !  "  the  pope  cried  out. 
"  I  really  did  !  I  swear  it  !  " 

"  Then  you  may  have  all  the  money,  and  my  own  share 
as  well.  Henceforth  serve  your  parish  faithfully.  Do 
not  be  a  miser,  and  do  not  beat  St.  Nicholas  on  the 
shoulders  with  the  keys  !  "  the  old  man  said,  and  vanished. 


* 


/z 


THE  SOLDIER  AND  DEATH 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  soldier  who  had  served 
God  and  the  Great  Sovereign~Tor  twenty-five  whole 
years,  and  had  only  in  the  end  earned  three  biscuits,  and 
was  journeying  back  home.  And,  as  he  went  along,  he 
thought :  "  Lord  !  here  am  I  ;  I  have  served  my  Tsar 
for  twenty-five  years,  have  received  my  food  and  dress, 
and  what  have  I  lived  for  after  all  ?  I  am  cold  and 
hungry,  and  have  only  three  biscuits  to  eat."  So  he 
pondered  and  thought,  and  decided  to  desert  and  run 
away  whither  his  eyes  might  lead  him. 

As  he  went  along  he  met  a  poor  beggar  who  asked 
alms  of  him.  The  soldier  gave  him  one  biscuit,  and  kept 
two.  And,  as  he  trudged  on,  he  soon  came  across 
another  poor  beggar,  who  bowed  down  low  and  asked 
for  alms.  So  the  soldier  gave  him  another  biscuit,  and 
had  only  one  left.  Again  on  he  went,  and  met  a  third 
beggar.  The  old  fellow  bowed  low  and  asked  for  alms. 
The  soldier  got  his  last  biscuit  out,  and  thought :  "  If 
I  give  him  the  whole,  I  shall  have  none  left ;  if  I  give 
half,  why,  this  old  man  will  come  across  brother-beggars, 
will  see  they  have  a  whole  biscuit,  and  be  offended. 
Better  let  him  have  it  all,  and  I  shall  get  on  somehow." 
So  he  gave  his  last  biscuit,  and  had  nothing  left. 

Then  the  old  man  asked  him :  "  Tell  me,  good  man, 
what  do  you  wish  ?  Of  what  have  you  need  ?  I  will 
help  you." 

"  God  bless  you  !  "  the  soldier  answered.  "  How 
should  I  take  anything  of  you  ? — you  are  old  and  poor." 

"  Don't  think  of  my  poverty,"  he  replied.  "  Just  say 

96 


THE  SOLDIER  AND  DEATH  97 

what  you  would  like,  and  I  will  requite  you  according 
to  your  own  goodness." 

"  I  want  nothing  ;  but,  if  you  have  any  cards,  give 
me  some  as  a  keepsake." 

For  the  old  man  was  Christ  Himself  walking  on  earth 
in  a  beggar's  guise.  The  old  man  put  his  hand  into  his 
breast  and  drew  out  a  pack  of  cards,  saying :  "  Take 
them.  With  whomsoever  you  play,  you  will  win  the 
game  ;  and  here  you  have  a  nosebag.  Whatever  you 
meet  on  the  way,  whether  wild  beast  or  bird  that  you 
would  like  to  catch,  just  say  to  it :  '  Jump  in  here,  beast 
or  bird  ! '  and  your  wish  will  be  carried  out." 

"  Thank  you  !  "  said  the  soldier,  took  the  cards  and 
the  nosebag,  and  fared  forth. 

He  went  on  and  on,  may-be  far,  may-be  near,  may-be 
short,  may-be  long,  and  arrived  at  a  lake,  on  which  three 
wild  geese  were  swimming.  Then  the  soldier  suddenly 
remembered  the  nosebag  and  thought :  "  I'll  just  test 
this  nosebag  "  ;  took  it  out,  opened  it,  and  said  :  "  Hi  ! 
you  wild  geese,  fly  into  my  nosebag  !  "  No  sooner 
uttered  than  the  geese  flew  straight  up  from  the  lake 
into  the  bag.  The  soldier  grabbed  the  bag,  tied  it  up, 
and  went  on  his  way. 

He  travelled  on  and  on  and  came  to  a  town.  He 
entered  an  eating-house  and  told  the  inn-keeper: 
"  Take  this  goose  and  cook  it  for  my  supper,  and  I  will 
give  you  another  goose  for  your  pains.  Change  me  this 
third  one  for  vodka."  So  there  the  soldier  sat  like  a  lord 
in  the  inn,  at  his  ease,  drinking  wine  and  feasting  on 
roast  goose. 

It  occurred  to  him  suddenly  he  might  peer  out  of  the 
window,  and  he  saw  opposite  a  big  palace,  but  not  one 
pane  of  glass  was  whole.  "  What  is  this  ?  "  he  asked  the 
inn-keeper.  "  What  is  this  palace  ?  Why  does  it  stand 
empty  ?  " 

"Why,  don't  you  know?"  the  master  replied.    "Our 


98  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Tsar  built  himself  this  palace,  but  cannot  inhabit  it ; 
and,  for  seven  years,  it  has  been  standing  empty.  Some 
unholy  power  drives  every  one  out  of  the  place.  Every 
night  an  assemblage  of  devils  meets  there,  make  a  row, 
dance,  play  cards,  and  perpetrate  every  sort  of  vileness  !  " 

So  off  the  soldier  went  to  the  Tsar.  "  Your  Imperial 
Majesty,"  quoth  he,  "  please  let  me  spend  one  night  in 
your  empty  palace  !  " 

"  What  do  you  mean,  fellow  ?  "  said  the  Tsar.  "  God 
bless  you ;  but  there  have  been  some  dare-devils  like 
you  who  passed  a  night  in  this  palace,  and  not  one 
emerged  alive  !  " 

"  Well,  still,  a  Russian  soldier  cannot  drown  in  water, 
or  burn  in  fire.  I  served  God  and  the  Great  Sovereign 
five-and-twenty  years,  and  never  died  of  it ;  and,  for 
one  night's  service  for  you,  I  am  to  die  !  No  !  " 

"But  I  tell  you:  a  man  enters  the  palace  at  night 
alive,  and  only  his  bones  are  found  there  in  the  morning! " 

But  the  soldier  stood  firm :  he  must  be  admitted  into 
the  palace. 

"  Well,"  said  the  Tsar,  "  go,  and  God  help  you.  Stay 
the  night  there  if  you  will ;  you  are  free,  and  I  won't 
hinder  you  !  " 

So  the  soldier  marched  into  the  palace,  and  settled 
himself  down  in  the  biggest  saloon,  took  his  knapsack 
off  and  his  sabre,  put  the  knapsack  in  a  corner  and  the 
sabre  on  a  hand-peg,  sat  down  on  a  chair,  put  his  hand 
into  his  pocket  for  his  tobacco-pouch,  lit  his  pipe,  and 
smoked  at  his  ease.    Then  about  midnight,  I  don't  k 
where  from,  hordes  of  devils,  seen  and  unseen,  scurriec 
up,  and  made  such  a  turmoil  and  row,  and  set  up  a  danc« 
with  wild  music.    "  What,  you  here,  discharged  soldier  ! 
all  the  devils  began  yelling.    "  Welcome  !    Will  you  pla] 
cards  with  us  ?  " 

"  Certainly ;  here  I  have  a  set  ready.    Let's  start  !  " 

He  took  them  out  and  dealt  round.     They  begai 


THE  SOLDIER  AND  DEATH  99 

played  a  game  out,  and  the  soldier  won  ;  another,  and 
the  same  luck ;  and  all  the  finessing  of  the  devils 
availed  them  nothing  ;  the  soldier  won  all  the  money, 
and  raked  it  all  together. 

"  Stop,  soldier,"  the  devils  said.  "  We  still  have  sixty 
ounces  of  silver  and  forty  of  gold.  We'll  stake  them  on 
the  last  game."  And  they  sent  a  little  devil-boy  to  fetch 
the  silver. 

So  a  new  game  commenced  ;  and  then  the  little  devil 
had  to  pry  in  every  nook  and  come  back  and  tell  the  old 
devil :  "  It's  no  use,  grandfather — we  have  no  more." 

"  Off  you  go  ;  find  some  gold  !  "  And  the  urchin 
went  and  hunted  up  gold  from  everywhere,  turned 
an  entire  mine  inside  out  and  still  found  nothing :  the 
soldier  had  played  everything  away. 

The  devils  got  angry  at  losing  all  their  money,  and 
began  to  assault  the  soldier,  roaring  out :  "  Smash  him 
up,  brothers  !  Eat  him  up  !  " 

"  We'll  see  who'll  have  the  last  word  if  it  comes  to 
eating,"  said  the  soldier,  shook  the  nosebag  open,  and 
asked,  "  What  is  this  ?  " 

"  A  nosebag,"  said  the  devils. 

"  Well,  in  you  all  go,  by  God's  own  spell !  "  And  he 
collected  them  all  together — so  many  you  couldn't  count 
them  all !  Then  the  soldier  buckled  the  bag  tightly, 
hung  it  on  a  peg,  and  lay  down  to  sleep. 

In  the  morning  the  Tsar  sent  for  all  his  folks.  "  Come 
up  to  me  and  inform  me  how  does  it  stand  with  the 
soldier.  If  the  unholy  powers  have  destroyed  him, 
bring  me  his  little  bones." 

So  off  they  went  and  entered  the  palace,  and  there 
saw  the  soldier  trudging  up  and  down  gaily  in  the  rooms 
and  smoking  his  pipe.  "  Well,  how  are  you,  discharged 
soldier  ?  We  never  expected  to  see  you  again  alive. 
How  did  you  pass  the  night  ?  What  kind  of  bargain 
did  you  make  with  the  devils  ?  " 


I 


ioo  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  What  devils !  Just  come  and  look  what  a  lot  of 
gold  and  silver  I  won  off  them.  Look,  what  piles  of  it !  " 
And  the  Tsar's  servants  looked  and  were  amazed.  And  the 
soldier  told  them  :  "  Bring  me  two  smiths  as  fast  as  you 
can.  Tell  them  to  bring  an  iron  anvil  and  a  hammer." 

Off  they  went  helter-skelter  to  the  smiths,  and  the 
matter  was  soon  arranged. 

The  smiths  arrived  with  iron  anvil  and  with  heavy 
hammers. 

"  Now,"  said  the  soldier,  "  take  this  nosebag  and  beat 
it  hard  after  the  ancient  manner  of  smiths." 

So  the  smiths  took  the  nosebag,  and  they  began  to 
whisper  to  each  other :  "  How  fearfully  heavy  it  is ! 
The  devil  must  be  in  it." 

The  devils  shrieked  in  answer :  "  Yes,  we  are  there, 
father — yes,  we  are  there  !  Kinsmen,  help  us !  " 

So  the  smiths  instantly  laid  the  nosebag  on  the  iron 
anvil,  and  they  began  to  knock  it  about  with  their  ham- 
mers as  though  they  were  hammering  iron. 

Very  soon  the  devils  saw  that  they  could  not  possibly 
stand  such  treatment,  and  they  began  to  shriek  :  "  Mercy 
on  us  ! — mercy  on  us  !  Let  us  out,  discharged  soldier, 
into  the  free  world.  Unto  all  eternity  we  will  not  forget 
you,  and  into  this  palace  never  a  devil  shall  enter  again. 
We  will  forbid  everybody — all  of  them — and  drive  them 
all  a  hundred  versts  away." 

So  the  soldier  bade  the  smiths  stop,  and  as  soon  as  he 
unbuckled  the  nosebag  the  devils  rushed  out,  and  flew 
off,  without  looking,  into  the  depths  of  hell — into  the 
abysses  of  hell.     But  the  soldier  was  no  fool ;    and  as 
they  were  flying  out  he  laid  hold  of  one  old  devil — laic 
hold  of  him  tight  by  his  paw.    "  Come  along,"  he  said 
"  give  me  some  written  undertaking  that  you  will  alwaj 
serve  me  faithfully." 

The  unholy  spirit  wrote  him  out  this  undertaking  ii 
his  own  blood,  gave  it  him,  and  took  to  his  heels. 


101 

All  the  devils  ran  away  into  the  burning  pitch,  and 
got  away  as  fast  as  they  could  with  all  their  infernal 
strength,  both  the  old  ones  and  the  young  ones ;  and 
henceforth  they  established  guards  all  round  the  burning 
pit  and  issued  stern  ordinances  that  the  gates  be  con- 
stantly guarded,  in  order  that  the  soldier  and  the  nosebag 
might  never  draw  near. 

The  soldier  .came  to  the  Tsar,  and  he  told  him  some 
kind  of  tale  how  he  had  delivered  the  palace  from  the 
infernal  visitation. 

"  Thank  you,"  the  Tsar  answered.  "  Stay  here  and 
live  with  me.  I  will  treat  you  as  if  you  were  my  brother." 

So  the  soldier  went  and  stayed  with  the  Tsar,  and  had 
a  sufficiency  of  all  things,  simply  rolled  in  riches,  and  he 
thought  it  was  time  he  should  marry.  So  he  married, 
and  one  year  later  God  gave  him  a  son.  Then  this  boy 
fell  into  such  a  fearful  illness — so  terrible  that  there  was 
nobody  who  could  cure  it — and  it  was  beyond  the  skill 
of  the  physicians ;  there  was  no  understanding  of  it. 
The  soldier  then  thought  of  the  old  devil  and  of  the 
undertaking  he  had  given  him,  and  how  it  had  run  in 
the  undertaking  :  "  I  shall  serve  you  eternally  as  a  faithful 
servant."  And  he  thought  and  said :  "  What  is  my  old 
devil  doing  ?  " 

Suddenly  the  same  old  devil  appeared  in  front  of  him 
and  asked :  "  What  does  your  worship  desire  ?  " 

And  the  soldier  answered :  "  My  little  boy  is  very  ill. 
Do  you  know  how  to  cure  him  ?  " 

So  the  devil  fumbled  in  his  pocket,  got  out  a  glass, 
poured  cold  water  into  it,  and  put  it  over  the  head  of 
the  sick  child,  and  told  the  soldier :  "  Come  here,  look 
into  the  water."  And  the  soldier  looked  at  the  water  ; 
and  the  devil  asked  him :  "  Well,  what  do  you  see  ?  " 

"  I  see  Death  standing  at  my  son's  feet." 

"  Well,  he  is  standing  at  his  feet ;  then  he  will  survive. 
If  Death  stands  at  his  head,  then  he  cannot  live  another 


102  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

day."  So  the  devil  took  the  glass  with  the  water  in  it 
and  poured  it  over  the  soldier's  son,  and  in  that  same 
minute  the  son  became  well. 

"  Give  me  this  glass,"  the  soldier  said,  "  and  I  shall 
never  trouble  you  for  anything  more."  And  the  devil 
presented  him  with  the  glass,  and  the  soldier  returned 
him  the  undertaking. 

Then  the  soldier  became  an  enchanter,  and  set  about 
curing  the  boydrs  and  the  generals.  He  would  go  and 
look  at  the  glass,  and  instantly  he  knew  who  had  to  die 
and  who  should  recover.  Now,  the  Tsar  himself  became 
ill,  and  the  soldier  was  called  in.  So  he  poured  cold 
water  into  the  glass,  put  it  at  the  Tsar's  head,  and  saw 
that  Death  was  standing  at  the  Tsar's  head. 

The  soldier  said :  "  Your  Imperial  Majesty,  there  is 
nobody  in  the  world  who  can  cure  you.  Death  is  standing 
at  your  head,  and  you  have  only  three  hours  left  of  life." 

When  the  Tsar  heard  this  speech,  he  was  furious  with 
the  soldier.  "  What,  what  !  "  he  shrieked  at  him.  "  You 
who  have  cured  so  many  boydrs  and  generals,  cannot  do 
anything  for  me  !  I  shall  instantly  have  you  put  to 
death." 

So  the  soldier  thought  and  thought  what  he  should 
do.  And  he  began  to  beseech  Death.  "  O  Death,"  he 
said,  "  give  the  Tsar  my  life  and  take  me  instead,  for  it 
doesn't  matter  to  me  whether  I  live  or  die  ;  for  it  is 
better  to  die  by  my  own  death  than  to  suffer  such  a 
cruel  punishment." 

And  he  looked  in  the  glass,  and  saw  that  Death  was 
standing  at  the  Tsar's  feet.  Then  the  soldier  took  the 
water  and  sprinkled  the  Tsar,  and  he  recovered  com- 
pletely. "  Now,  Death,"  said  the  soldier,  "  give  me 
only  three  hours'  interval  in  order  that  I  may  go  home 
and  say  farewell  to  my  wife  and  my  son." 

"  Well,  you  may  have  three  hours.  Go,"  Death 
replied. 


THE  SOLDIER  AND  DEATH  103 

So  the  soldier  went  away  home,  lay  down  on  his  bed, 
and  became  very  ill. 

And  when  Death  was  standing  very  near  him,  she  said, 
"  Now,  discharged  soldier,  say  good-bye  quickly — you 
have  only  three  minutes  left  to  live  in  the  bright  world." 

So  the  soldier  stretched  himself  out,  took  his  nosebag 
from  under  his  head,  opened  it,  and  asked :  "  What  is 
this  ?  " 

Death  answered  :  "  A  nosebag." 

"  Well,  if  it  is  a  nosebag,  then  jump  into  it !  " 

And  Death  instantly  jumped  straight  into  the  bag. 
And  the  soldier,  ill  as  he  was,  jumped  up  from  his  bed, 
buckled  the  nosebag  together  firmly,  very  tightly,  threw 
it  on  his  shoulder,  and  went  into  the  Bryanski  Woods, 
the  slumbrous  forest.  And  he  went  there,  and  he  hung 
this  bag  on  the  bitter  aspen,  on  the  very  top  twig,  and 
he  went  back  home. 

From  that  day  forward  nobody  died  in  that  kingdom  : 
they  were  born,  and  they  kept  on  being  born,  and  they 
never  died.  And  very  many  years  went  by,  and  the 
soldier  never  took  his  nosebag  down.  One  day  he  hap- 
pened to  go  into  the  town.  He  went,  and  on  his  way  he 
met  such  an  old,  old  lady,  so  old  that  on  whichever  side 
the  wind  blew,  she  inclined.  "  Oh,  what  an  old  lady  !  " 
the  soldier  said.  "  Why,  it  is  almost  time  she  died." 

"  Yes,  father,"  the  old  dame  replied.  "  The  time  has 
come  and  gone  long  since.  At  the  time  when  you  put 
Death  into  the  nosebag  I  had  only  one  hour  left  in  which 
to  live  in  the  white  world.  I  should  be  very  glad  to  have 
some  rest ;  but  unless  I  die,  earth  will  not  take  me  up  ; 
and  you,  discharged  soldier,  are  guilty  of  an  unforgivable 
sin  in  God's  eyes.  For  there  is  no  single  soul  left  on 
earth  who  is  tortured  as  I  am." 

Then  the  soldier  stayed  and  began  to  think.  "  Yes, 
yes ;  it  would  be  better  to  let  Death  out ;  perhaps  I, 
too,  might  die.  And  beyond  this,  too,  I  have  many  sins 


104  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


om 


on  my  conscience.  Thus  it  is  better  now  whilst  I  am 
still  strong  and  I  bear  pain  on  this  earth  ;  for  when  I 
shall  become  very  old  then  it  will  be  all  the  worse  for 
me  to  suffer  anything." 

So  he  got  up  and  he  went  up  into  the  Bryanski  Woods, 
and  he  went  up  to  the  aspen,  and  saw  there  the  nosebag 
was  hanging  very  high,  shaking  in  the  winds  to  all  sides. 
"  Oh,  you  Death,"  he  says,  "  are  you  still  alive  ?  " 

A  faint  voice  came  out  of  the  nosebag :  "  Yes,  father, 
I  am  alive." 

So  the  soldier  took  the  nosebag,  opened  it,  and  he  let 
out  Death. 

And  he  himself  lay  down  on  his  bed,  bade  farewell  to 
his  wife  and  son,  and  he  begged  Death  that  he  might 
die.  And  she1  ran  outside  the  door  with  all  the  strength 
in  her  feet.  "  Go  !  "  she  cried.  "  It  is  the  devils  who 
shall  slay  you — I  shall  not  slay  you  !  " 

So  the  soldier  remained  alive  and  healthy.  And  he 
thought :  "  Shall  I  go  straight  into  the  burning  pitch, 
for  then  the  devils  will  throw  me  into  the  seething 
sulphur  until  such  time  as  my  sins  shall  have  been 
melted  from  off  me."  And  he  bade  farewell  from  all, 
and  he  went  with  the  knapsack  in  his  hand  straight  into 
the  burning  pitch. 

And  he  went  on :  may-be  near,  may-be  far,  may-be 
downhill,  may-be  uphill,  may-be  short,  may-be  long  ; 
and  he  at  last  arrived  in  the  abyss,  and  he  looked,  and 
all  round  the  burning  cauldron  there  stood  watchmen. 
As  soon  as  he  stopped  at  the  gate  a  devil  asked  who  was 
coming. 

"  A  guilty  soul  to  be  tortured." 

"  Why  do  you  come  ?  What  are  you  carrying  with 
you  ?  " 

"  Oh,  a  nosebag." 

And  the  devil  shrieked  out  of  his  full  throat  and  made 

1  Death  is  feminine  in  Russian. 


THE  SOLDIER  AND  DEATH  105 

a  tremendous  stir.  All  the  infernal  powers  roused  them- 
selves and  looked  out  of  the  gates  and  windows  with 
their  unbreakable  bolts. 

And  the  soldier  went  all  round  the  cauldron,  and  he 
called  out  to  the  master  of  the  cauldron :  "  Let  me  in, 
please  ;  do  let  me  into  the  cauldron.  I  have  come  to 
you  to  be  tortured  for  my  sins." 

"  No,  I  will  not  let  you  in.  Go  away  wherever  you 
will — there  is  no  room  for  you  here." 

"  Well,  if  you  will  not  let  me  in  to  be  tortured,  at 
least  give  me  two  hundred  souls.  I  will  take  them  up  to 
God,  and  perhaps  the  Lord  will  pardon  my  faults." 

And  the  master  of  the  cauldron  answered :  "  I  will 
add  fifty  more  souls  to  the  lot ;  only  do  go  away  !  "  So 
he  instantly  ordered  two  hundred  and  fifty  souls  to  be 
counted  out  and  to  be  taken  to  the  rear  gates  in  order 
that  the  soldier  might  not  see  him. 

So  the  soldier  gathered  up  the  guilty  souls,  and  he 
went  up  to  the  gates  of  Paradise. 

The  Apostles  saw  him,  and  said  to  the  Lord :  "  Some 
soldier  or  other  has  come  up  here  with  two  hundred  and 
fifty  souls  from  hell !  " 

"  Take  them  into  Paradise,  but  do  not  let  the  soldier 
in." 

But  the  soldier  had  given  up  his  nosebag  to  one  guilty 
soul,  and  had  told  it :  "  Just  look  here.  When  you  enter 
the  gates  of  Paradise,  say  at  once  :  '  Soldier,  jump  into 
the  nosebag  !  ' 

Then  the  gates  of  Paradise  opened,  and  the  souls 
began  to  go  in  ;  and  this  guilty  soul  also  went  in,  and  for 
sheer  joy  forgot  all  about  the  soldier. 

Thus  the  soldier  was  left  behind,  and  could  not  find 
any  home  in  either  place,  and  for  long  after  that  he  still 
had  to  live  and  go  on  living  in  the  white  world.  And 
after  very  many  days  he  died. 


THE  MIDNIGHT  DANCE 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  king  who  was  a  widower. 
He  had  twelve  daughters :  each  was  fairer  than  the 
others.  Every  night  these  princesses  went  where  nobody 
knew :  it  was  only  for  twenty-four  hours,  and  they 
always  wore  out  a  new  pair  of  shoes.  Now  the  king 
had  no  shoes  ready  for  them,  and  he  wanted  to  know 
where  they  went  at  night  and  what  they  did.  So  he 
made  a  feast  ready,  and  he  summoned  all  the  kings  and 
kofolevichi,  all  the  boydrs,  and  the  merchants  and  the 
simple  folk,  to  it,  and  he  asked  them,  "  Can  any  of  you 
guess  this  riddle  ?  Whoever  guesses  it  I  will  give  him 
my  beloved  daughter  as  a  wife  and  a  half  of  my  kingdom 
as  a  dowry." 

No  one  was  able  to  find  out  where  the  princesses  went 
at  night.  Only  one  poor  nobleman  cried  out,  "  Your 
kingly  Majesty,  I  will  find  out  !  " 

"  Very  well ;   go  and  find  out." 

So  then  the  poor  nobleman  began  pondering  and 
saying  to  himself,  "  What  have  I  done  ?  I  have  under- 
taken to  find  out,  and  I  don't  know  myself.  If  I  don't 
find  out  now,  possibly  the  king  will  put  me  under  arrest." 

So  he  went  out  of  the  palace  beyond  the  city,  and 
went  on  and  on,  and  at  last  he  met  an  old  woman  on  the 
road  who  asked  him,  "  What  are  you  thinking  of,  doughty 
youth  ?  " 

And  he  answered,  "  How  should  I,  Babushka,  not 
become  thoughtful  ?  I  have  undertaken  to  discover  for 
the  king  where  his  daughters  go  by  night." 

"  Oh,  this  is  a  difficult  task,  but  it  can  be  done.    Here 

106 


THE  MIDNIGHT  DANCE  107 

I  will  give  you  the  cap  of  invisibility  ;  with  that  you 
cannot  be  seen.  Now,  remember,  when  you  go  to  sleep 
the  princesses  will  pour  a  sleeping-draught  out  for  you: 
you  turn  to  the  wall  and  pour  it  into  the  bed  and  do 
not  drink  it." 

So  the  poor  nobleman  thanked  the  old  woman  and 
returned  to  the  palace.  Night-time  approached  and 
they  gave  him  a  room  next  to  that  in  which  the  princesses 
slept.  So  he  lay  on  the  bed  and  began  to  keep  watch. 
Then  one  of  the  princesses  brought  sleeping-drugs  in 
wine  and  asked  him  to  drink  her  health.  He  could  not 
refuse,  and  so  he  took  the  goblet,  turned  to  the  wall, 
and  poured  it  into  the  bed.  At  midnight  the  princesses 
went  to  look  whether  he  was  asleep  or  not.  Then  the 
poor  nobleman  pretended  to  be  as  sound  asleep  as  a  log, 
and  himself  kept  a  keen  look  out  for  every  noise. 

"  Now,  sisters,  our  watchman  has  gone  to  sleep :  it 
is  time  we  set  out  on  our  promenade :  it  is  time." 

So  they  all  put  on  their  best  clothes,  and  the  elder 
sister  went  to  her  bedside,  moved  the  bed,  and  an 
entrance  into  the  subterranean  realm  instantly  opened 
up  beneath,  leading  to  the  home  of  the  Accursed  Tsar. 

They  all  went  down  a  flight  of  stairs,  and  the  poor 
nobleman  quietly  got  off  his  bed,  put  on  the  cap  of 
invisibility,  and  followed  them.  He,  without  noticing, 
touched  the  youngest  princess's  dress  :  she  was  frightened 
and  said  to  her  sisters,  "  O  my  sisters,  somebody  has 
stepped  on  my  dress.  This  is  a  foretokening  of  woe." 

"  Nonsense  ;  it  does  not  mean  anything  of  the  sort !  " 

So  they  all  went  down  the  flight  of  steps  into  a  grove, 
and  in  that  grove  there  were  golden  flowers.  Then  the 
poor  nobleman  broke  off  and  plucked  a  single  sprig,  and 
the  entire  grove  rustled. 

"  Oh,  sisters,"  said  the  youngest  sister,  "  some  un- 
fortunate thing  is  injuring  us.  Did  you  hear  how  the 
grove  rustled  ?  " 


io8  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Do  not  fear  ;  this  is  the  music  in  the  Accursed  Tsar's 
realm." 

So  they  went  into  the  Tsar's  palace.  He,  with  his 
lacqueys,  met  them  ;  music  sounded  ;  and  they  began 
dancing :  and  they  danced  until  their  shoes  were  worn 
thin.  Then  the  Tsar  bade  wine  to  be  served  to  his 
guests.  The  poor  nobleman  took  a  single  goblet  from 
under  his  nose,  poured  out  the  wine,  and  put  the  cup 
into  his  pocket. 

At  last  the  rout  was  over,  and  the  princesses  bade 
farewell  to  their  cavaliers,  promised  to  come  another 
night,  turned  back  home,  undressed  and  lay  down  to 
sleep. 

Then  the  king  summoned  t?he  poor  nobleman,  and 
asked  him,  "  Did  you  keep  watch  on  my  daughters  ?  " 

"  Yes,  I  did,  your  Majesty." 

"  Where  did  they  go  ?  " 

"  Into  the  subterranean  realm,  to  the  Accursed  Tsar, 
where  they  danced  all  night  long." 

So  the  king  summoned  his  daughters,  and  began  cross- 
examining  them.  "  Where  do  you  go  at  night  ?  " 

So  the  princesses  tried  a  feint :  "  We  have  not  been 
anywhere." 

"  Were  you  not  with  the  Accursed  Tsar  ?  There  is 
this  poor  nobleman  who  can  turn  evidence  on  you.  He 
is  able  to  convict  you." 

"  What  do  you  mean,  batyushka  ?  He  can  convict  us 
when  all  night  he  slept  the  sleep  of  the  dead  ?  " 

Then  the  poor  nobleman  brought  the  golden  flower 
out  of  his  pocket,  and  the  goblet,  and  said,  "  There  is 
the  testimony." 

What  could  they  do  ?  The  princesses  had  to  ac- 
knowledge their  guilt,  and  the  king  bade  the  entrance  to 
the  subterranean  realm  be  slated  up.  And  he  married 
the  poor  nobleman  to  the  youngest  daughter,  and  they 
lived  happily  ever  after. 


VASILISA   THE    FAIR 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  merchant  who  had  been 
married  for  twelve  years  and  had  only  one  daughter, 
Vasilisa  the  Fair.  When  her  mother  died  the  girl  was 
eight  years  old.  On  her  death-bed  the  mother  called 
the  maiden  to  her,  took  a  doll  out  of  her  counterpane, 
said :  "  Vasilisushka,  hear  my  last  words.  I  am  dying, 
and  I  will  leave  you  my  mother's  blessing  and  this  doll. 
Keep  this  doll  always  by  you,  but  show  it  to  nobody, 
and  no  misfortune  can  befall  you.  Give  it  food  and  ask 
it  for  advice.  After  it  has  eaten,  it  will  tell  you  how  to 
avoid  your  evil."  Then  the  wife  kissed  her  daughter 
and  died. 

After  the  wife's  death  the  merchant  mourned  as  it 
behoved,  and  then  he  thought  of  a  second  wife.  He  was 
a  handsome  man  and  found  many  brides,  but  he  liked 
one  widow  more  than  any  one.  She  was  no  longer 
young,  and  had  two  daughters  of  about  the  same  age  as 
Vasilisa.  So  she  was  an  experienced  housewife  and  mother. 
The  merchant  married  her,  but  he  had  made  a  mistake, 
for  she  was  no  good  mother  to  his  own  daughter. 

Vasilisa  was  the  fairest  damsel  in  the  entire  village, 
and  the  stepmother  and  the  sisters  envied  her  therefore. 
And  they  used  to  torture  jjrer  by~pling  all  the  work  they 
could  on  her,  that  she  might  grow  thin  and  ugly,  and 
might  be  tanned  by  the  wind  and  the  sun.  And  the 
child  lived  a  hard  life.  Vasilisa,  however,  did  all  her 
work  without  complaining,  and  always  grew  more  beauti- 
ful and  plumper,  while  the  stepmother  and  her  daughters, 
out  of  sheer  spite,  grew  thinner  and  uglier.  Yet  there 

109 


i  io  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

they  sat  all  day  long  with  their  hands  folded,  just  like 
fine  ladies.  How  could  this  be  ? 

It  was  the  doll  that  had  helped  Vasilisa.  Without  her 
the  maiden  could  never  have  done  her  task.  Vasilisa 
often  ate  nothing  herself,  and  kept  the  tastiest  morsels 
for  the  doll ;  and  when  at  night  they  had  all  gone  to 
bed,  she  used  to  lock  herself  up  in  her  cellaret  below, 
give  the  doll  food  to  eat,  and  say,  "  Dollet,  eat  and  listen 
to  my  misery.  I  am  living  in  my  father's  house,  and  my 
lot  is  hard.  My  evil  stepmother  is  torturing  me  out  of 
the  white  world.  Teach  me  what  I  must  do  in  order  to 
bear  this  life." 

Then  the  doll  gave  her  good  advice,  consoled  her, 
and  did  all  her  morning's  work  for  her.  Vasilisa  was 
told  to  go  walking,  plucking  flowers ;  and  all  her  flower- 
beds were  done  in  time,  all  the  coal  was  brought  in,  and 
the  water-jugs  carried  in,  and  the  hearthstone  was  hot. 
Further,  the  doll  taught  her  herb-lore  ;  so,  thanks  to  her 
doll,  she  had  a  merry  life  ;  and  the  years  went  by. 

Vasilisa  grew  up,  and  all  the  lads  in  the  village  sought 
her.  But  the  stepmother's  daughters  nobody  would 
look  at ;  and  the  stepmother  grew  more  evil  than  ever 
and  answered  all  her  suitors :  "  I  will  not  give  my  eldest 
daughter  before  I  give  the  elders."  So  she  sent  all  the 
bargainers  away,  and  to  show  how  pleased  she  was, 
rained  blows  on  Vasilisa. 

One  day  the  merchant  had  to  go  away  on  business  for 
a  long  time  ;  so  the  stepmother  in  the  meantime  went 
over  to  a  new  house  near  a  dense,  slumbrous  forest.  In 
the  forest  there  was  a  meadow,  and  on  the  meadow  there 
was  a  hut,  and  in  the  hut  Baba  Yaga  lived,  who  would 
not  let  anybody  in,  and  ate  up  men  as  though  they  were 
poultry.  Whilst  she  was  moving,  the  stepmother  sent 
her  hated  stepdaughter  into  the  wood,  but  she  always 
came  back  perfectly  safe,  for  the  doll  showed  her  the 
way  by  which  she  could  avoid  Baba  Yaga's  hut. 


VASILlSA   THE    FAIR  in 

So  one  day  the  harvest  season  came  and  the  stepmother 
gave  all  three  maidens  their  task  for  the  evening :  one 
was  to  make  lace  and  the  other  to  sew  a  stocking,  and 
Vasilisa  was  to  spin.  Each  was  to  do  a  certain  amount. 
The  mother  put  all  the  fires  out  in  the  entire  house, 
and  left  only  one  candle  burning  where  the  maidens 
were  at  work,  and  herself  went  to  sleep.  The  maidens 
worked  on.  The  candle  burned  down,  and  one  of  the 
stepmother's  daughters  took  the  snuffers  in  order  to  cut 
down  the  wick.  But  the  stepmother  had  told  her  to 
put  the  light  out  as  though  by  accident. 

"  What  is  to  be  done  now  ?  "  they  said.  "  There  is 
no  fire  in  the  house  and  our  work  is  not  finished.  We 
must  get  a  light  from  the  Baba  Yaga." 

"  I  can  see  by  the  needles,"  said  the  one  who  was 
making  lace. 

"  I  also  am  not  going,"  said  the  second,  "  for  my 
knitting  needles  give  me  light  enough.  You  must  go 
and  get  some  fire.  Go  to  the  Baba  Yaga  !  "  And  they 
turned  Vasilisa  out  of  the  room. 

And  Vasilisa  went  to  her  room,  put  meat  and  drink 
before  her  doll,  and  said  :  "  Dolly  dear,  eat  it  and  listen 
to  my  complaint.  They  are  sending  me  to  Baba  Yaga 
for  fire,  and  the  Baba  Yaga  will  eat  me  up." 

Then  the  Dollet  ate,  and  her  eyes  glittered  like  two 
lamps,  and  she  said :  "  Fear  nothing,  Vasilisushka.  Do 
what  they  say,  only  take  me  with  you.  As  long  as  I  am 
with  you  Baba  Yaga  can  do  you  no  harm."  Vasilisa  put 
the  doll  into  her  pocket,  crossed  herself,  and  went 
tremblingly  into  the  darksome  forest. 

Suddenly  a  knight  on  horseback  galloped  past  her  all 
in  white.  His  cloak  was  white,  and  his  horse  and  the 
reins :  and  it  became  light.  She  went  further,  and 
suddenly  another  horseman  passed  by,  who  was  all  in 
red,  and  his  horse  was  red,  and  his  clothes :  and  the  sun 
rose.  Vasilisa  went  on  through  the  night  and  the  next 


112  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

day.  Next  evening  she  came  to  the  mead  where  Baba 
Yaga's  hut  stood.  The  fence  round  the  hut  consisted 
of  human  bones,  and  on  the  stakes  skeletons  glared  out 
of  their  empty  eyes.  And,  instead  of  the  doorways  and 
the  gate,  there  were  feet,  and  in  the  stead  of  bolts  there 
were  hands,  and  instead  of  the  lock  there  was  a  mouth 
with  sharp  teeth.  And  Vasilisa  was  stone-cold  with 
fright. 

Suddenly  another  horseman  pranced  by  on  his  way. 
He  was  all  in  black,  on  a  jet-black  horse,  with  a  jet-black 
cloak.  He  sprang  to  the  door  and  vanished  as  though 
the  earth  had  swallowed  him  up :  and  it  was  night. 
But  the  darkness  did  not  last  long,  for  the  eyes  in  all  the 
skeletons  on  the  fence  glistened,  and  it  became  as  light 
as  day  all  over  the  green. 

Vasilisa  trembled  with  fear,  but  remained  standing, 
for  she  did  not  know  how  she  could  escape.  Suddenly 
a  terrible  noise  was  heard  in  the  forest,  and  the  tree- 
boughs  creaked  and  the  dry  leaves  crackled.  And  out  of 
the  wood  Baba  Yaga  drove  in  inside  the  mortar  with  the 
pestle,  and  with  the  broom  swept  away  every  trace  of 
her  steps.  At  the  door  she  stopped,  sniffed  all  the  way 
round,  and  cried  out : 

"  Fee,  Fo,  Fi,  Fum,  I  smell  the  blood  of  a  Russian  mum ! ' 

Who  is  there  ?  " 

Vasilisa,  shuddering  with  dread,  stepped  up  to  her, 
bowed  low  to  the  ground,  and  said :  "  Mother,  I  am 
here.  My  stepmother's  daughters  sent  me  to  you  to 
ask  for  fire." 

"  Very  well,"  said  Baba  Yaga :  "  I  know  them.  Stay 
with  me,  work  for  me,  and  I  will  give  you  fire.  Other- 
wise I  shall  eat  you  up." 

Then  she  went  to  the  door,  and  she  cried  out :  "  Ho  ! 
my  strong  bolts,  draw  back,  my  strong  door,  spring 
open  !  "  And  the  door  sprang  open,  and  Baba  Yaga 


VASILISA   THE    FAIR  113 

went  in  whistling  and  whirring,  and  Vasilisa  followed 
her. 

Then  the  door  closed,  and  Baba  Yaga  stretched  herself 
in  the  room  and  said  to  Vasilisa  :  "  Give  me  whatever 
there  is  in  the  oven.  I  am  hungry." 

So  Vasilisa  lit  a  splinter  from  the  skulls  on  the  hedge 
and  fetched  Baba  Yaga  food  out  of  the  oven,  and  there 
was  food  enough  there  for  ten  men.  Out  of  a  cellar  she 
fetched  kvas,  mead,  and  wine.  Baba  Yaga  ate  and  drank 
it  all  up.  But  all  there  was  left  for  Vasilisa  was  a  little  of 
some  kind  of  soup,  and  a  crust  of  bread,  and  a  snippet 
of  pork. 

Baba  Yaga  lay  down  to  sleep  and  said :  "  In  the 
morning,  to-morrow,  when  I  go  away  you  must  clean 
the  courtyard,  brush  out  the  room,  get  dinner  ready, 
do  the  washing,  go  to  the  field,  get  a  quarter  of  oats, 
sift  it  all  out,  and  see  that  it  is  all  done  before  I  come 
home.  Otherwise  I  will  eat  you  up." 

And,  as  soon  as  ever  she  had  given  all  the  orders,  she 
began  snoring. 

Vasilisa  put  the  rest  of  the  dinner  in  front  of  the  doll 
and  said :  "  Dollet,  eat  it  up  and  listen  to  my  woe. 
Heavy  are  the  tasks  which  the  Baba  Yaga  has  given  me, 
and  she  threatens  to  eat  me  up  if  I  don't  carry  them  all 
out.  Help  me  !  " 

"  Have  no  fear,  Vasilisa,  thou  fair  maiden.  Eat,  pray, 
and  lie  down  to  sleep,  for  the  morning  is  wiser  than  the 
evening." 

Very  early  next  day  Vasilisa  woke  up.  Baba  Yaga  was 
already  up  and  was  looking  out  of  the  window.  The 
glimmer  in  the  eyes  of  the  skulls  had  dimmed  ;  the 
white  horseman  raced  by :  and  it  dawned.  Baba  Yaga 
went  into  the  courtyard,  and  whistled,  and  the  mortar, 
the  pestle,  and  the  besom  appeared  at  once,  and  the  red 
horseman  came  by :  and  the  sun  rose.  Baba  Yaga  sat 
in  the  mortar  and  went  by,  thrusting  the  mortar  with 


ii4  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

the  pestle,  and  with  the  besom  she  removed  every  trace 
of  her  steps. 

Vasilisa,  left  all  by  herself,  looked  over  the  house  of 
the  Baba  Yaga,  wondered  at  all  the  wealth  gathered  in, 
and  began  to  consider  what  she  should  start  with.  But 
all  the  work  was  already  done,  and  the  doll  had  sifted 
out  the  very  last  of  the  ears  of  oats. 

"  Oh,  my  saviour  !  "  said  Vasilisa.  "  You  have  helped 
me  in  my  great  need." 

"  You  now  have  only  to  get  dinner  ready,"  the  doll 
answered,  and  clambered  back  into  Vasilisa's  pocket. 
"  With  God's  help  get  it  ready,  and  stay  here  quietly 
waiting." 

In  the  evening  Vasilisa  laid  the  cloth  and  waited  for 
Baba  Yaga.  The  gloaming  came,  and  the  black  horseman 
reached  by :  and  it  at  once  became  dark,  but  the  eyes 
in  the  skulls  glowed.  The  trees  shuddered,  the  leaves 
crackled,  Baba  Yaga  drove  in,  and  Vasilisa  met  her. 

"  Is  it  all  done  ?  "    Baba  Yaga  asked. 

"  Yes,  grandmother  :    look  !  "  said  Vasilisa. 

Baba  Yaga  looked  round  everywhere,  and  was  rather 
angry  that  she  had  nothing  to  find  fault  with  and  said : 
"  Very  well."  Then  she  cried  out :  "  Ye  my  faithful 
servants,  friends  of  my  heart  !  Store  up  my  oats." 
Then  three  pairs  of  hands  appeared,  seized  the  oats  and 
carried  them  off. 

Baba  Yaga  had  her  supper,  and,  before  she  went  to 
sleep,  once  more  commanded  Vasilisa :  "  To-morrow 
do  the  same  as  you  did  to-day,  but  also  take  the  hay 
which  is  lying  on  my  field,  clean  it  from  every  trace  of 
soil,  every  single  ear.  Somebody  has,  out  of  spite,  mixed 
earth  with  it." 

And,  as  soon  as  she  had  said  it,  she  turned  round  to 
the  wall  and  was  snoring. 

Vasilisa  at  once  fetched  her  doll,  who  ate,  and  said  as 
the  had  the  day  before :  "  Pray  and  lie  down  to  sleep, 


VASIL1SA   THE    FAIR  115 

for  the  morning  is  wiser  than  the  evening.  Everything 
shall  be  done,  Vasilisushka." 

Next  morning  Baba  Yaga  got  up  and  stood  at  the 
window,  and  then  went  into  the  courtyard  and  whistled  ; 
and  the  mortar,  the  besom,  and  the  pestle  appeared  at 
once,  and  the  red  horseman  came  by :  and  the  sun  rose. 
Baba  Yaga  sat  in  the  mortar  and  went  off,  sweeping 
away  her  traces  as  before. 

Vasilisa  got  everything  ready  with  the  help  of  her  doll. 
Then  the  old  woman  came  back,  looked  over  everything, 
and  said :  "  Ho,  my  faithful  servants,  friends  of  my 
heart !  Make  me  some  poppy-oil."  Then  three  pairs  of 
hands  came,  laid  hold  of  the  poppies  and  carried  them  off. 

Baba  Yaga  sat  down  to  supper,  and  Vasilisa  sat  silently 
in  front  of  her.  "  Why  do  you  not  speak  ;  why  do  you 
stay  there  as  if  you  were  dumb  ?  "  Baba  Yaga  asked. 

"  I  did  not  venture  to  say  anything ;  but  if  I  might, 
I  should  like  to  ask  some  questions." 

"  Ask,  but  not  every  question  turns  out  well :  too 
knowing  is  too  old." 

"  Still,  I  should  like  to  ask  you  of  some  things  I  saw. 
On  my  way  to  you  I  met  a  white  horseman,  in  a  white 
cloak,  on  a  white  horse  :  who  was  he  ?  " 

"  The  bright  day." 

"  Then  a  red  horseman,  on  a  red  horse,  in  a  red  cloak, 
overtook  me  :  who  was  he  ?  " 

"  The  red  sun." 

"  What  is  the  meaning  of  the  black  horseman  who 
overtook  me  as  I  reached  your  door,  grandmother  ?  " 

"  That  was  the  dark  night.  Those  are  my  faithful 
servants." 

Vasilisa  then  thought  of  the  three  pairs  of  hands  and 
said  nothing. 

"  Why  don't  you  ask  any  further  ?  "  Baba  Yaga  asked. 

"  I  know  enough,  for  you  say  yourself  '  too  knowing 
is  too  old.'  " 


ii6  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  It  is  well  you  asked  only  about  things  you  saw  in  the 
courtyard,  and  not  about  things  without  it,  for  I  do  not 
like  people  to  tell  tales  out  of  school,  and  I  eat  up  every- 
body who  is  too  curious.  But  now  I  shall  ask  you,  how 
did  you  manage  to  do  all  the  work  I  gave  you  ?  " 

"  By  my  mother's  blessing  !  " 

"  Ah,  then,  get  off  with  you  as  fast  as  you  can,  blessed 
daughter  ;  no  one  blessed  may  stay  with  me  !  " 

So  she  turned  Vasilisa  out  of  the  room  and  kicked  her 
to  the  door,  took  a  skull  with  the  burning  eyes  from  the 
fence,  put  it  on  a  staff,  gave  it  her  and  said,  "  Now  you 
have  fire  for  your  stepmother's  daughters,  for  that  was 
why  they  sent  you  here." 

Then  Vasilisa  ran  home  as  fast  as  she  could  by  the 
light  of  the  skull ;  and  the  flash  in  it  went  out  with  the 
dawn. 

By  the  evening  of  the  next  day  she  reached  the  house, 
and  was  going  to  throw  the  skull  away,  when  she  heard 
a  hollow  voice  coming  out  of  the  skull  and  saying :  "  Do 
not  throw  me  away.  Bring  me  up  to  your  stepmother's 
house."  And  she  looked  at  her  stepmother's  house  and 
saw  that  there  was  no  light  in  any  window,  and  decided 
to  enter  with  the  skull.  She  was  friendlily  received,  and 
the  sisters  told  her  that  ever  since  she  had  gone  away 
they  had  had  no  fire  ;  they  were  able  to  make  none  ; 
and  all  they  borrowed  of  their  neighbours  went  out  as 
soon  as  it  came  into  the  room. 

"  Possibly  your  fire  may  burn  !  "  said  the  stepmother. 

So  they  took  the  skull  into  the  room,  and  the  burning 
eyes  looked  into  the  stepmother's  and  the  daughters' 
and  singed  their  eyes  out.  Wherever  they  went,  they 
could  not  escape  it,  for  the  eyes  followed  them  every- 
where, and  in  the  morning  they  were  all  burned  to 
cinders.  Vasilisa  alone  was  left  alive. 

Then  Vasilisa  buried  the  skull  in  the  earth,  locked  the 
house  up,  and  went  into  the  town.  And  she  asked 


VASILISA   THE    FAIR  117 

poor  old  woman  to  take  her  home  and  to  give  her  food 
until  her  father  came  back  ;  she  said  to  the  old  woman, 
"  Mother,  sitting  here  idle  makes  me  feel  dull.  Go  and 
buy  me  some  of  the  very  best  flax ;  I  should  like  to 
spin." 

So  the  old  woman  went  and  bought  good  flax.  Vasilisa 
set  herself  to  work,  and  the  work  went  merrily  along, 
and  the  skein  was  as  smooth  and  as  fine  as  hair,  and  when 
she  had  a  great  deal  of  yarn,  no  one  would  undertake 
the  weaving,  so  she  turned  to  her  doll,  who  said  :  "  Bring 
me  some  old  comb  from  somewhere,  some  old  spindle, 
some  old  shuttle,  and  some  horse  mane  ;  and  I  will  do 
it  for  you." 

Vasilisa  went  to  bed,  and  the  doll  in  that  night  made 
a  splendid  spinning  stool ;  and  by  the  end  of  the  winter 
all  the  linen  had  been  woven,  and  it  was  so  fine  that  it 
could  be  drawn  like  a  thread  through  the  eye  of  a  needle. 
And  in  the  spring  they  bleached  the  linen,  and  Vasilisa 
said  to  the  old  mistress :  "  Go  and  sell  the  cloth,  and 
keep  the  money  for  yourself." 

The  old  woman  saw  the  cloth  and  admired  it,  and 
said :  "  Oh,  my  child  !  nobody  except  the  Tsar  could 
ever  wear  such  fine  linen  ;  I  will  take  it  to  Court." 

The  old  woman  went  to  the  Tsar's  palace,  and  kept 
walking  up  and  down  in  front  of  it. 

The  Tsar  saw  her  and  said :  "  Oh,  woman,  what  do 
you  want  ?  " 

"  Almighty  Tsar,  I  am  bringing  you  some  wonderful 
goods,  which  I  will  show  to  nobody  except  you." 

The  Tsar  ordered  the  old  woman  to  be  given  audience, 
and  as  soon  as  ever  he  had  seen  the  linen  he  admired  it 
very  much.  "  What  do  you  want  for  it  ?  "  he  asked  her. 

"  It  is  priceless,  Batyushka,"  she  said  ;  "  I  will  give 
it  you  as  a  present." 

And  the  Tsar  thought  it  over  and  sent  her  away  with 
rich  rewards. 


g- 

I 


ii8  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Now  the  Tsar  wanted  to  have  shirts  made  out  of  this 
same  linen,  but  he  could  not  find  any  seamstress  to  under- 
take the  work.  And  he  thought  for  long,  and  at  last  he 
sent  for  the  old  woman  again,  and  said :  "  If  you  can 
spin  this  linen  and  weave  it,  perhaps  you  can  make  a 
shirt  out  of  it  ?  " 

"  I  cannot  weave  and  spin  the  linen,"  said  the  old 
woman  ;  "  only  a  maiden  can  who  is  staying  with  me." 

"  Well,  she  may  do  the  work." 

So  the  woman  went  home  and  told  Vasilisa  everything. 

"  I  knew  that  I  should  have  to  do  the  work  !  "  sak 
Vasilisa.     And  she  locked  herself  up  in  her  little  room, 
set  to  work,  and  never  put  her  hands  again  on  her  la] 
until  she  had  sewn  a  dozen  shirts. 

The  old  woman  brought  the  Tsar  the  shirts,  and 
Vasilisa  washed  and  combed  herself,  dressed  herself,  and 
sat  down  at  the  window,  and  waited.  Then  there  came 
a  henchman  of  the  Tsar's,  entered  the  room  and  said : 
"  The  Tsar  would  fain  see  the  artist  who  has  sewn  him 
the  shirts,  and  he  wants  to  reward  her  with  his  own 
hands." 

Vasilisa  the  Fair  went  to  the  Tsar.  When  he  saw  her, 
he  fell  deep  in  love  with  her.  "  No,  fairest  damsel ;  I 
will  never  part  from  you.  You  must  be  my  wife." 

So  the  Tsar  took  Vasilisa,  with  her  white  hands,  put 
her  next  to  him,  and  bade  the  bells  ring  for  the  wedding. 

Vasilisa's  father  came  back  home,  and  was  rejoiced  at 
her  good  luck,  and  stayed  with  his  daughter. 

Vasilisa  also  took  the  old  woman  to  live  with  her,  and 
the  doll  ever  remained  in  her  pocket. 


THE   ANIMALS    IN   THE   PIT 

A  PIG  was  going  to  church  at  St.  Petersburg,  and  the 
Wolf  met  him. 

"  Piggy,  Piggy?  where  are  you  faring  ?  " 

"  To  St.  Petersburg,  to  pray  to  God." 

"  Take  me  with  !  " 

"  Come  along,  Gossip." 

So  they  went  on  together,  and  met  the  Vixen. 

"  Pig,  where  are  you  going  ?  " 

"  To  St.  Petersburg,  so  please  you." 

"  Take  me  with  !  " 

"  Come  along,  Gossip." 

So  they  went  on  together  and  met  the  Hare,  who  said, 
"  Piggy,  Piggy,  where  are  you  going  ?  " 

"  On  to  St.  Petersburg,  to  pray  to  God  ?  " 

"  Very  well,  take  me  with." 

"  Very  well,  Slant-eyes,  I  will." 

Then  they  met  the  Squirrel,  who  also  went  with  them. 
But  on  their  road  they  came  across  a  broad,  deep  pit. 
The  Pig  jumped  and  tumbled  in,  and  after  him  the 
Wolf,  the  Fox,  the  Hare  and  the  Squirrel. 

And  they  sat  there  for  a  long  time,  and  became  very 
hungry,  for  they  had  nothing  to  eat. 

"  Let's  all  begin  singing,"  said  the  Vixen,  "  and  we 
will  eat  the  animal  who  has  the  thinnest  voice." 

So  the  Wolf  struck  in  a  deep  gruff  voice,  Aw,  aw,  aw  ! 
And  the  Pig  followed  in  a  tone  just  a  shade  softer,  Oo, 
oo,  oo  !  But  the  Vixen  came  in  fine  and  sharp,  Eh,  eh, 
eh  ;  whilst  the  Hare  trilled  the  thinnest  Ee,  ee,  ee  in  the 
world.  The  Squirrel  also  sang  Ee,  ee,  ee  !  So  the 

119 


120 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


animals  at  once  set-to  tearing  up  the  Squirrel  and  Hare, 
and  ate  them  down  to  their  bones. 

Next  day  the  Vixen  said :  "  We  will  eat  the  person 
with  the  fattest  voice."  That  was  the  Wolf  with  his 
great  gruff  Aw,  aw,  aw  !  So  they  ate  him  up.  The 
Vixen  ate  up  the  flesh  and  kept  the  heart  and  the  bowels, 
And  for  three  days  she  sat  and  ate  them. 

And  the  Pig  then  asked  her :  "  What  are  you  eating  ? 
— give  me  some  !  " 

"  Oh,  Pig,  I  am  eating  my  own  flesh.  You  tear  your 
belly  up  and  munch  it  yourself." 

So  the  Pig  did,  and  the  Vixen  feasted  on  him. 

The  Vixen  then  was  left  as  the  last  person  in  the  pit. 

Did  she  climb  up,  or  is  she  there  still  ?  I  don't  know, 
really  ! 


THE  POOR  WIDOW 

A  VERY  long  time  ago  Christ  and  the  twelve  Apostles 
walked  on  earth.  They  went  about  like  simple  people, 
and  nobody  could  have  known  that  it  was  Christ  and 
the  twelve  Apostles. 

Once  they  came  to  a  village  and  they  asked  a  rich 
peasant  for  a  bed.  The  rich  peasant  would  not  let 
them  in,  telling  them  :  "  Over  there  there  lives  a  widow 
who  receives  beggars ;  go  to  her."  So  they  asked  the 
widow  for  a  night's  rest,  and  the  widow  was  poor,  poor 
of  the  poorest  ;  she  had  nothing  at  all.  She  had  only  a 
very  little  crust  of  bread  and  a  mere  handful  of  flour, 
and  she  also  had  a  cow,  but  the  cow  had  no  milk. 
.  %"Yes,  fathers,"  the  widow  said,  "my  little  hut  is 
very  small,  and  there  is  nowhere  to  lie  down." 

"  Never  mind  ;   we  can  manage  somehow  !  " 

So  the  widow  received  the  wanderers,  and  did  not 
know  how  to  feed  them. 

"  How  shall  I  feed  you  ?  "  the  widow  said.  "  I  only 
have  one  little  crust  of  bread  and  a  mere  handful  of 
flour,  and  my  cow  is  calving  and  has  no  milk.  I  have  to 
wait  for  her  to  calve.  You  cannot  look  for  bread  and 
salt  here." 

"  Well,  woman,"  the  Saviour  said,  "  have  no  fear — 
we  shall  all  be  satisfied.  Give  us  all  you  have.  We 
will  eat  the  crust.  Everything,  woman,  comes  of 
God." 

So  they  sat  down  to  table  and  began  to  feast,  and  they 
were  all  fed  on  the  one  crust  of  bread.  There  were 
even  crumbs  left  behind. 


121 


122  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Lo  and  behold  !  woman,  you  said  that  there  was 
nothing  to  feed  us  on,"  the  Saviour  said.  "  Look,  we 
are  all  satisfied,  and  there  are  some  crumbs  over.  Every- 
thing, woman,  comes  of  God  !  "  And  so  Christ  and  the 
Apostles  stayed  with  the  poor  widow. 

In  the  morning  the  widow  told  her  sister :  "  Go  and 
scrape  up  any  flour  you  can  find  in  the  corn-bin  ;  possibly 
we  may  make  a  tiny  pancake  so  as  to  feed  our  guests." 
The  girl  went  and  brought  up  a  clay  pot  full.  The  old 
woman  was  not  astonished  when  so  much  came — she 
simply  took  it  as  it  came  and  started  making  a  pancake. 
And  the  girl  told  her :  "  There  is  as  much  again  in  the 
corn-bin."  So  the  woman  cooked  the  pancake  for  the 
Saviour  and  the  twelve  Apostles,  telling  them :  "  Come 
and  eat  of  the  good  fare,  kinsmen,  which  God  has  sent." 
And  so  they  ate  and  bade  farewell  to  the  aged  widow 
and  went  on  the  road. 

And  when  they  were  on  the  way  there  was  a  grey  wolf 
sitting  on  a  knoll.  He  bowed  low  to  Christ  and  asked  for 
food. 

"  Lord,"  he  bayed,  "  I  am  hungry.  Lord,  I  should 
like  to  eat." 

"  Go,"  said  the  Saviour  to  him,  "  to  the  old  widow 
and  eat  her  cow  with  the  calf." 

And  the  Apostles  were  astonished  and  said :  "  Lord, 
why  do  you  bid  him  snatch  the  poor  widow's  cow  ?  She 
received  you  so  kindly  and  fed  us,  and  she  was  so  happy 
in  the  expectation  of  the  calf,  for  then  the  cow  would 
have  had  milk,  which  is  food  for  every  home." 

"  That  is  how  it  must  be,"  the  Saviour  replied.  And 
they  went  on. 

The  wolf  ran  and  snatched  up  the  poor  widow's  cow, 
and  when  the  old  woman  saw  this  she  said  contentedly : 
"  The  Lord  hath  given,  the  Lord  hath  taken  away. 
Hallowed  be  His  will !  " 

So  Christ  and  the  Apostles  went  on,  and  they  met  a 


THE  POOR  WIDOW  123 

keg  with  money  in  it  on  the  way.  The  Saviour  said : 
"  Keg,  go  and  roll  to  the  rich  peasant's  door." 

And  again  the  Apostles  were  astonished. 

"  Lord,  it  would  have  been  better  had  you  bidden 
the  keg  roll  to  the  poor  widow's  door,  for  the  rich  man 
has  so  much." 

"  That  is  how  it  must  be,"  the  Saviour  said.  And 
they  went  on. 

And  the  keg  with  the  money  in  it  rolled  straight  to 
the  rich  peasant's  door,  and  the  peasant  took  and  hid 
the  money  and  was  still  discontented.  "  Surely  the 
Lord  might  have  sent  me  more,"  he  mused. 

Christ  and  the  Apostles  went  on  their  way  and  travelled 
still  further.  At  midday  the  sun  was  very  hot,  and  the 
Apostles  wanted  to  drink. 

"  Lord,"  they  said,  "  we  should  like  to  drink." 

"  Go,"  replied  the  Saviour,  "  and  on  this  road  you 
will  find  a  well.  There  take  your  fill." 

So  the  Apostles  went  on  and  on  and  on,  and  they  saw 
a  well.  When  they  looked  into  it  there  was  filth  and 
dirt,  toads,  snakes  and  frogs,  and  everything  vile,  and 
the  Apostles  would  not  drink  of  it,  and  swiftly  returned 
to  the  Saviour. 

"  Why  did  you  not  drink  the  water  ?  "  Christ  asked 
them. 

"  As  you,  Lord,  told  us,  the  well  was  there,  but  it 
was  so  horrible  that  we  could  hardly  look  into  it." 

Christ  answered  never  a  word. 

And  they  went  forward  on  their  road.  They  went  on 
and  on  and  on,  and  the  Apostles  again  said  to  the  Saviour: 
"  We  are  thirsty." 

So  the  Saviour  sent  them  in  another  direction.  "  There 
you  will  see  a  well.  Go  and  drink  your  fill." 

The  Apostles  went  to  the  other  well,  and  there  it 
was,  beautiful — oh,  so  delightful !  Enchanted  trees 
were  there  and  birds  of  paradise.  They  did  not  ever 


124  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

want  to  leave  it,  and  they  drank  of  it,  and  the  water  was 
so  pure,  so  chilled,  and  so  sweet.  And  they  came  back. 

"  Why  have  you  been  so  long  ?  "  the  Saviour  asked 
them. 

"  Why,  we  only  took  a  short  drink,"  the  Apostles 
answered,  "  and  we  were  only  away  three  little  minutes." 

"  You  were  not  there  three  little  minutes,  but  three 
whole  years,"  the  Lord  answered.  "  As  it  was  in  the 
first  well,  so  ill  shall  in  the  next  world  deal  by  the  rich 
peasant ;  and  as  it  was  in  the  second  well,  so  good  shall 
be  the  poor  widow's  fare." 


ILYA  MtJROMETS1  AND   SVYATOGOR 
THE  KNIGHT 

FROM  the  famous  city  of  Murom,  out  of  the  village  of 
Karacharovo,  the  valiant,  doughty  youth  Ilya  Muromets, 
the  son  of  Ivan,  set  out  far  into  the  open  fields.  The 
valiant  champion  met  on  his  way  the  mighty  knight 
Svyatogor  ;  and  the  good  youth  was  afraid  of  him  ; 
the  old  Cossack,  Ilya  Muromets,  was  afraid  of  Svyatogor 
the  knight.  So  he  set  his  horse  to  browse  and  himself 
mounted  a  thick  grey  oak  to  avoid  Svyatogor  the  knight. 
Svyatogor  the  knight  arrived  under  that  same  stout  oak, 
put  up  his  white  linen  tent,  and  took  his  wife  out  of  his 
pocket.  She  spread  out  the  chequered  table-cloths  and 
put  sugary  food  and  honeyed  drink  for  him  to  eat. 
Svyatogor  ate  until  he  was  sated,  and  drank  until  he  was 
satisfied,  and  lay  down  to  repose. 

Then  the  wife  of  the  knight  observed  Ilya  up  in  the 
grey  oak,  and  spoke  to  him  in  this  wise :  "  Hail,  valiant 
and  brave  youth ;  climb  down  from  the  grey  oak.  If 
you  do  not  climb  down  from  the  grey  oak,  you  will 
arouse  Svyatogor  the  knight,  and  he  will  give  you  to 
a  speedy  death." 

So  Ilya  Muromets  was  afraid  of  Svyatogor,  and  slid 
down  from  the  grey  oak. 

And  again  she  spoke  in  this  wise :   "  Come  and  do 

1  Ilv4  Muromets  is  one  of  the  heroes  of  the  Byl'my :  his  great  feat 
is  the  slaying  of  the  Nightingale  Robber.  This  tale  may  be  eponymous 
of  geography;  Svyatogor  (Svyaty  GJry,  Sacred  Mountains)  Murom  is 
on  the  river  Oka,  in  the  Province  of  Vladimir,  one  of  the  oldest  cities 
in  Russia ;  the  village  of  Karacharovo  i?  not  far  off , 

125 


126  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

fornication  with  me,  good  youth.  If  you  do  not,  I  will 
arouse  Svyatogor  the  knight,  and  he  will  give  you  to 
a  speedy  death." 

So  he  did  as  he  was  bidden  and  went  with  her  into 
the  pocket  of  Svyatogor.  Svyatogor  arose  from  a  sound 
sleep,  saddled  his  horse,  and  went  to  the  Holy  Moun- 
tains. Then  his  horse  began  to  sink  fast  into  the  earth, 
until  the  knight  dug  his  spurs  into  his  horse's  fat  haunches. 

Then  the  horse  spoke  with  a  human  voice :  "  I  have 
carried  you  Svyatogor  the  knight  and  your  young  wife, 
but  I  cannot  carry  two  knights  and  your  young  wife  as 
well." 

So  then  Svyatogor  put  his  hand  into  the  depths  of 
his  pocket,  took  his  young  wife  out,  and  discovered  Ilya 
Muromets. 

"  How  did  you  get  into  the  depths  of  my  pocket  ? >: 

"  Your  young  wife  forced  me  in  there  ;  she  threat- 
ened my  life."  And  Ilya  Muromets  told  Svyatogor  the 
knight  how  he  had  fallen  into  the  depths  of  the  pocket. 

So  Svyatogor  took  his  young  wife,  cut  off  her  unruly 
head,  broke  up  her  white  body  into  four  parts,  and 
scattered  them  on  the  bare  fields. 

Then  Ilya  and  Svyatogor  made  themselves  sworn 
brothers,  and  they  set  out  to  the  Holy  Mountains. 
They  came  to  a  deep  tomb,  and  the  tomb  was  decked 
with  red-gold.  Svyatogor  the  knight  lay  down  in  that 
tomb  as  if  it  had  been  built  for  him. 

"  Cover  me  over  with  boards,  my  sworn  brother,"  he 
said.  And,  as  Ilya  covered  him  over  with  boards,  the 
boards  by  Divine  grace  grew  as  they  were  required. 
"  Uncover  me,  my  sworn  brother  !  " 

But  Ilya  Muromets  had  not  the  strength  to  uncover 
him  ;  so  he  began  to  break  the  boards  with  his  sword, 
and  wherever  he  brandished  his  sword,  hoops  arose  in 
his  way. 

"  Take  my  sword,  my  sworn  brother  !  " 


ILYA  MtfROMETS  AND  SVYATOGOR     127 

And  Ilya  took  the  sword,  but  had  not  the  strength  to 
lift  it  up. 

"  Come,  my  sworn  brother,  I  will  give  you  strength." 

Ilya  then  went  into  the  pit  and  Svyatogor  breathed  on 
him  with  his  knightly  breath.  Then  Ilya  took  that  sword, 
and  wherever  he  made  a  stroke,  iron  hoops  arose  around. 

"  Come  to  me  a  second  time,  my  sworn  brother  ;  I 
will  give  you  more  strength." 

Ilya  Muromets  said  at  once :  "  If  I  come  down  to  you 
again,  then  our  mother  the  grey  earth  will  not  be  able 
to  bear  it :  I  have  enough  strength." 

But  Svyatogor  answered :  "  If  you  had  come  down 
again  I  should  have  breathed  on  you  with  a  fatal  breath, 
and  you  would  have  lain  down  to  sleep  beside  me." 

So  there  Svyatogor  the  knight  remains  to  this  day. 


THE  SMITH  AND  THE  DEVIL 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  smith  who  had  a  son  six 
years  old — a  sturdy  and  sensible  lad.  One  day  the  old 
man  was  going  into  the  church,  and  stood  in  front  of  a 
picture  of  the  Last  Judgment.  And  he  saw  there  was  a 
devil  painted  there  so  terrible,  so  black,  with  horns  and 
tail  !  "  What  a  fine  devil !  "  he  thought.  "  I  will  go 
and  paint  such  a  devil  for  myself  in  the  smithy."  So  he 
sent  for  a  painter  and  told  him  to  paint  on  the  doors  of 
the  smithy  a  devil  who  should  be  exactly  the  same  as  the 
one  he  had  seen  in  the  church.  This  was  done. 

From  this  time  forward,  the  old  man,  whenever  he 
went  into  the  smithy,  always  looked  at  the  devil  and  said, 
"  Hail,  fellow-countryman  !  "  And  soon  after  he  would 
go  up  to  the  forge,  light  the  fire,  and  set  to  work.  So  he 
went  on  living  for  some  ten  years  on  most  excellent 
terms  with  the  devil.  Then  he  fell  ill  and  died.  His  son 
succeeded  him  and  took  over  the  smithy.  But  he  had  no 
such  respect  for  the  devil  as  his  father  had  had.  Whether 
he  went  early  to  the  smithy  or  not,  nothing  prospered ; 
and,  instead  of  greeting  the  devil  kindly,  he  went  and  took 
his  very  biggest  hammer  and  knocked  the  devil  three 
times  on  his  forehead,  and  then  set  to  work.  When  a 
holy  feast-day  came  by,  he  went  into  the  church  and  lit 
a  taper  in  front  of  the  saints ;  but,  as  he  approached  the 
devil  he  spat  on  him.  For  three  whole  years  this  went 
on  ;  and  every  day  he  greeted  the  unclean  spirit  with  a 
hammer  and  spat  on  him. 

The  devil  was  very  patient,  and  endured  all  this  mal- 
treatment. At  last  it  became  beyond  bearing,  and  he 

128 


THE   SMITH  AND  THE   DEVIL          129 

would  stand  it  no  longer.  "  Time  is  up  !  "  he  thought. 
"  I  must  put  an  end  to  such  contemptuous  treatment." 
So  the  devil  turned  himself  into  a  fine  lad  and  came  into 
the  smithy. 

"  How  do  you  do,  uncle  ?  "  he  said. 

"  Very  well,  thank  you  !  " 

"  Will  you  take  me  into  the  smithy  as  an  apprentice  ? 
I  will  heat  your  coals  and  will  blow  the  bellows." 

Well,  the  smith  was  very  glad.  "  I  certainly  will !  " 
he  said.  "  Two  heads  are  better  than  one." 

So  the  devil  turned  apprentice,  and  he  lived  a  month 
with  him,  and  soon  got  to  know  all  of  the  smith's  work 
better  than  the  master  himself ;  and,  whatever  the 
master  could  not  do,  he  instantly  carried  out.  Oh,  it 
was  a  fine  sight,  and  the  smith  so  grew  to  love  him,  and 
was  so  content  with  him — I  cannot  tell  you  how  much  ! 

One  day  he  did  not  come  into  the  smithy,  and  left  his 
underling  to  do  the  work  ;  and  it  was  all  done. 

Once  when  the  master  was  not  at  home,  and  only  the 
workman  was  left  in  the  smithy,  he  saw  an  old  rich  lady 
passing  by.  He  bobbed  out  his  head,  and  cried :  "  Hail 
there  ?  There  is  new  work  to  be  done — old  folks  to  be 
turned  into  young  !  " 

Out  skipped  the  old  lady  from  her  barouche  and  into 
the  smithy.  "  What  are  you  saying  you  can  do  ?  Is 
that  really  true  ?  Do  you  mean  it  ?  Are  you  mad  ?  " 
she  asked  the  boy. 

"  No  reason  to  start  lecturing  me,"  the  Evil  Spirit 
answered.  "  If  I  didn't  know  how  I  should  not  have 
summoned  you." 

"  What  would  it  cost  ?  "  the  rich  woman  asked. 

"  It  would  cost  five  hundred  roubles." 

"  Well,  there  is  the  money.  Turn  me  into  a  young 
woman  !  " 

The  Evil  Spirit  took  the  money,  and  sent  the  coachman 
into  the  village  to  get  two  buckets  of  milk.  And  he 


130  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

seized  the  lady  by  the  legs  with  the  pinchers,  threw  her 
into  the  forge,  and  burned  her  all  up.  Nothing  but  her 
bones  were  left.  When  the  two  tubs  of  milk  came,  he 
emptied  them  into  a  pail,  collected  all  the  bones,  and 
threw  them  into  the  milk.  Lo  and  behold  !  in  three 
minutes  out  the  lady  came,  young — yes,  alive  and  young, 
and  so  beautiful ! 

She  went  and  sat  down  in  the  barouche  and  drove 
home,  went  up  to  her  husband,  and  he  fixed  his  eyes 
on  her,  and  didn't  know  his  wife.  "  What's  the  matter  ? 
Have  you  lost  your  eyesight  ?  "  the  lady  asked.  "  Don't 
you  see  it  is  I,  young  and  stately ;  I  don't  want  to  have 
an  old  husband.  Go  at  once  to  the  smith  and  ask  him  to 
forge  you  young,  and  you  won't  know  yourself  !  " 

What  could  the  husband  do  ?  Husbands  must  obey, 
and  so  off  he  drove. 

In  the  meantime,  the  smith  had  returned  home  and 
went  to  the  smithy.  He  went,  and  there  was  no  sign  of 
his  man.  He  looked  for  him  everywhere,  asked  every- 
body, questioned  them,  but  it  was  no  good,  and  all 
trace  had  vanished.  So  he  set  to  work  by  himself  and 
began  hammering. 

Then  the  husband  drove  up  and  said  straight  out  to 
the  smith :  "  Make  a  young  man  of  me,  please  !  " 

"  Are  you  in  your  senses,  master  ?  How  can  I  make  a 
young  man  of  you  ?  " 

"  Oh  !  you  know  how  to  !  " 

"  I  really  have  not  any  idea  !  " 

"  Liar  !  fool !  swindler  !  Why,  you  turned  my  old 
woman  into  a  young  one.  Do  the  same  by  me,  otherwise 
life  with  her  won't  be  worth  living." 

"  But  I  have  not  seen  your  wife  !  " 

"  Never  mind  ! — your  young  man  saw  her,  and  if  he 
understood  how  to  manage  the  work,  surely  you,  as  the 
craftsman,  understand  !  Set  to  work  quickly,  unless 
you  want  to  taste  worse  of  me  and  be  birched." 


THE  SMITH  AND  THE  DEVIL          131 

So  the  smith  had  no  choice  but  to  transform  the  master. 
So  he  quietly  asked  the  coachman  what  his  man  had 
done  with  the  lady,  and  thought :  "  Well,  I  don't  mind  ! 
I  will  do  the  same  ;  it  may  come  out  to  the  same  tune, 
or  it  may  not.  I  must  look  out  for  myself." 

So  he  stripped  the  lord  to  his  skin,  clutched  his  legs 
up  with  nippers,  threw  him  into  the  forge,  began  to 
blow  up  the  bellows,  and  burned  him  to  ashes.  After- 
wards he  threw  the  bones — hurled  them  all  into  the  milk, 
and  began  watching  would  a  young  master  emerge  from 
the  bath.  And  he  waited  one  hour,  and  another  hour,  and 
nothing  happened,  looked  at  the  little  tub — all  the  little 
bones  were  floating  about  all  burned  to  pieces. 

And  what  was  the  lady  doing  ?  She  sent  messengers 
to  the  smithy.  "  When  was  the  master  to  be  turned  out  ?" 
And  the  poor  smith  answered  that  the  master  had 
wished  her  a  long  life.  And  you  may  imagine  what  they 
thought  of  this.  Soon  she  learned  that  all  the  smith 
had  done  had  been  to  burn  her  husband  to  bits  and  not 
to  make  him  young,  and  she  was  very  angry  indeed,  sent 
her  body-servants,  and  ordered  them  to  take  the  smith 
to  the  gallows.  The  order  was  given,  and  the  thing 
was  done.  The  attendants  ran  to  the  smith,  laid  hold 
of  him,  and  took  him  to  the  gallows. 

Then  the  same  young  man  who  had  acted  as  a  hand 
to  the  smith  came  and  asked :  "  Where  are  they  taking 
you,  master  ?  " 

"  They  are  going  to  hang  me  !  "  the  smith  said.  And 
he  explained  what  had  happened. 

"  Well,  never  mind,  uncle  !  "  said  the  Unholy  Spirit. 
"  Swear  that  you  will  never  strike  me  with  your  hammer, 
and  I  will  secure  you  such  honour  as  your  father  had. 
The  lady's  husband  shall  arise  young  and  in  full  health." 

The  smith  swore  and  made  oath  that  he  would  never 
raise  the  hammer  on  the  devil  and  would  give  him  every 
honour. 


132 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


Then  the  workman  ran  to  the  smithy,  and  soon 
returned  with  the  husband,  crying  out  to  the  servants 
to  stop  and  not  to  hang  the  smith,  for  there  the  master 
was  !  He  then  untied  the  ropes  and  set  the  smith  free. 

And  the  youth  thereafter  never  more  spat  on  the  devil 
and  beat  him  with  a  hammer.  But  his  workman  vanished 
and  was  never  seen  again.  The  master  and  mistress  lived 
on  and  experienced  good  in  their  life,  and  they  are  still 
alive,  if  they  are  not  dead. 


THE  PRINCESS  WHO  WOULD  NOT  SMILE 

IF  you  think  of  it,  what  a  big  world  God's  world  is : 
in  it  rich  and  poor  folk  live,  and  there  is  room  enough 
for  them  all ;  and  the  Lord  overlooks  and  judges  them 
all.  There  are  fine  folk  who  have  holidays,  there  are 
wailful  folk  who  must  moil ;  every  man  has  his  lot. 


In  the  Tsar's  palace,  in  the  Prince's  chamber,  every 
day  the  Princess  Without  a  Smile  grew  fairer.  What  a 
life  she  had,  what  plenty,  what  beauty  round  her  ! 
There  was  enough  of  everything  that  exists  that  the  I 
soul  may  desire,  but  she  never  smiled,  never  laughed, 
and  it  seemed  as  though  her  heart  could  not  rejoice  at 
anything.  _/ 

It  was  a  bitter  thing  for  the  Tsar  her  father  to  gaze 
at  his  doleful  daughter.  He  used  to  open  his  imperial 
palace  to  whoever  would  be  his  guest.  "  Come,"  he 
said,  "  come  and  try  to  enliven  the  Princess  Without 
a  Smile :  any  one  who  succeeds  shall  gain  her  as  his 
wife."  And  as  soon  as  he  had  said  this  all  folk  thronged 
up  at  the  gates  of  the  palace,  driving  up  from  all  sides, 
coming  on  foot,  Tsarevichi  and  princes'  sons,  boyars 
and  noblemen,  military  folk  and  civil.  Feasts  were 
celebrated,  rivers  of  mead  flowed,  and  the  Princess 
would  not  smile. 

But,  at  the  other  end  of  the  town,  in  his  own  little  \ 
hut,  there  dwelt  an  honourable  labourer.  Every  morn-  \ 
ing  he  used  to  sweep  out  the  courtyard :  every  evening  I 
he  used  to  pasture  the  cattle,  and  he  was  engaged  iny 

133 


134  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

ceaseless  labour.  His  master  was  a  rich  man,  a  just  man, 
and  he  did  not  begrudge  pay.  When  the  year  came  to 
an  end  he  put  a  purse  of  money  on  the  table,  "  Take," 
he  said,  "  as  much  as  you  like  "  ;  and  the  master  went 
outside. 

The  workman  went  up  to  the  table  and  thought, 
"  How  shall  I  not  be  guilty  in  the  eyes  of  God  if  I  take 
too  much  for  my  labour  ?  "  So  he  took  only  one  little 
coin,  put  it  into  the  hollow  of  his  hand  and  thought 
he  would  have  a  little  drink.  So  he  went  to  the  well,  and 
the  coin  slipped  through  his  fingers  and  fell  to  the 
bottom.  So  the  poor  fellow  had  nothing  left.  Now, 
anybody  else  in  his  place  would  have  cried  out,  would 
have  become  melancholy  and  angry,  might  have  put 
his  hands  up.  He  did  nothing  of  the  sort.  "  Every- 
thing," he  said,  "  comes  from  God.  The  Lord  knows 
what  He  gives  to  each  man,  whose  money  He  divides, 
from  whom  He  takes  the  last  money.  Evidently  I  have 
given  bad  care,  I  have  done  little  work ;  and  now  am  I 
to  become  angry  ?  " 

So  he  set  to  work  once  more.  And  all  that  his  hand 
touched  flew  like  fire.  Then,  when  the  term  was  over, 
when  one  year  more  had  gone  by,  the  master  again  put 
a  purse  of  money  on  the  table :  "  Take,"  he  said,  "  as 
much  as  your  soul  desires  "  ;  and  he  himself  went  out- 
side. 

Then  again  the  labourer  thought  how  he  should  not 
offend  God,  how  he  should  not  take  too  much  for  his 
work.  So  he  took  one  coin  and  he  went  to  have  a  little 
drink  at  the  well.  In  some  way  or  other  the  money  fell 
from  his  hands  and  the  coin  tumbled  into  the  well 
and  was  lost. 

So  he  set  to  work  even  more  obstinately :  at  night  he 
would  not  sleep  and  by  day  he  would  not  eat.  Other 
men  saw  their  corn  grow  dry  and  yellow,  but  his  master's 
corn  prospered  amain.  Some  men's  cattle  became  bow- 


I 


THE  PRINCESS  WHO  WOULD  NOT  SMILE  135 

legged,  but  his  master's  gambolled  in  the  street.  And 
the  horses  of  some  masters  fell  downhill,  but  his  master's 
could  not  be  kept  to  the  bridle.  The  master  knew  very 
well  whom  he  must  thank,  to  whom  he  must  render 
gratitude.  So,  when  the  third  year  came  to  an  end,  he 
laid  a  pile  of  money  on  the  table  :  "  Take,  my  dear  man, 
as  much  as  your  soul  desires.  It  is  your  work,  and  it 
is  your  money  "  ;  and  he  went  out  of  the  room. 

Once  more  the  workman  took  a  single  coin,  went  to 
the  well  for  a  drink  of  water  and  looked,  and  the  lost 
money  floated  up  to  the  surface :  so  he  took  them,  and 
he  then  felt  sure  that  God  had  rewarded  him  for  his 
labour.  He  was  joyous  and  thought,  "  It  is  now  the 
time  for  me  to  go  and  look  at  the  white  world  and  to 
learn  of  people."  So  he  thought  this,  and  he  went  out 
whither  his  eyes  gazed. 

He  went  on  to  the  field,  and  he  saw  a  mouse  running : 
"  My  friend,  my  dear  gossip,  give  me  a  coin  ;  I  will  be 
of  service  to  you." 

So  he  gave  the  mouse  a  coin. 

Then  he  went  to  the  forest,  and  a  beetle  crept  up  and 
said,  "  My  friend,  my  dear  gossip,  give  me  a  coin  ;  I 
will  be  of  service  to  you." 

So  he  gave  him  the  second  coin. 

Then  he  came  up  to  the  stream,  and  he  met  a  sheat- 
fish.  "  My  friend,  my  dear  gossip,  give  me  a  coin  ;  I 
shall  be  of  service  to  you." 

And  he  could  not  refuse  him,  so  he  gave  his  last  coin. 

So  then  he  came  into  the  city.  Oh,  it  was  so  thronged  ! 
All  the  doors  were  opened,  and  he  looked,  and  the  work- 
man turned  in  all  directions,  and  he  did  not  know  where 
to  go.  In  front  of  him  stood  the  Tsar's  palace  decked 
with  gold  and  silver,  and  at  the  window  the  Tsarevna 
Without  a  Smile  sat  and  gazed  on  him  straight.  What 
should  he  do  ?  The  light  in  his  eyes  turned  dark,  and 
a  sleep  fell  on  him,  and  he  fell  straight  into  the  mud. 


136  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Up  came  the  sheat-fish  with  his  big  whiskers,  and  after 
him  the  beetle  and  the  mouse :  they  all  ran  up,  they 
all  pressed  round  him  and  did  all  the  service  they  could. 
The  little  mouse  took  his  coat :  the  beetle  cleaned  his 
boots,  and  the  sheat-fish  drove  away  the  flies.  The 
Princess  Without  a  Smile  gazed  on  their  services,  and 
she  smiled. 

"  Who  is  he  who  has  enlivened  my  daughter  ?  "  cried 

the  King.  One  man  said  "  I,"  and  another  man  said 
«  T  ?> 

"  No,"  said  the  Princess,  "  that  is  the  man  there  "  ; 
and  she  pointed  out  the  workman. 

Instantly  he  was  taken  into  the  palace,  and  the  work- 
man stood  in  the  imperial  presence,  a  youth  such  as 
never  was :  then  the  Tsar  kept  his  princely  word  and 
gave  what  he  had  promised. 

I  am  saying  it.  Was  not  this  a  mere  dream  ?  Did  not 
the  workman  only  dream  it  ?  They  assure  me  this  is  not 
the  fact,  and  that  it  all  happened  in  real  truth ;  so  you 
must  believe  it. 


I 


THE   TSAREVICH   AND    DYAD'KA* 

ONCE  upon  a  time,  in  a  certain  kingdom,  in  a  city  of 
yore,  there  was  a  King  who  had  a  dwarf  son.  The 
Tsarevich  was  fair  to  behold,  and  fair  of  heart.  But  his 
father  was  not  good :  he  was  always  tortured  with 
greedy  thoughts,  how  he  should  derive  greater  profit 
from  his  country  and  extract  heavier  taxes. 

One  day  he  saw  an  old  peasant  passing  by  with  sable, 
marten,  beaver,  and  fox-skins ;  and  he  asked  him : 
"  Old  man  !  whence  do  you  come  ?  " 

"  Out  of  the  village,  Father.  I  serve  the  Woodsprite 
with  the  iron  hands,  the  cast-iron  head,  and  the  body  of 
bronze." 

"  How  do  you  catch  so  many  animals  ?  " 

"  The  Woodsprite  lays  traps,  and  the  animals  are 
stupid  and  go  into  them." 

"  Listen,  old  man ;  I  will  give  you  gold  and  wine. 
Show  me  where  you  put  the  traps." 

So  the  old  man  was  persuaded,  and  he  showed  the 
King,  who  instantly  had  the  Woodsprite  arrested  and 
confined  in  a  narrow  tower.  And  in  all  the  Woodsprite's 
forests  the  King  himself  laid  traps. 

The  Woodsprite-forester  sat  in  his  iron  tower  inside 
the  royal  garden,  and  looked  out  through  the  window. 
One  day,  the  Tsarevich,  with  his  nurses  and  attendants 
and  very  many  faithful  servant-maids,  went  into  the 
garden  to  play.  He  passed  the  door,  and  the  Wood- 
sprite  cried  out  to  him  :  "  Tsarevich,  if  you  will  set  me 
free,  I  will  later  on  help  you." 

1  Affectionate  term  for  old  servant,  equivalent  to  uncle. 
137 


138  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  How  shall  I  do  this  ?  " 

"  Go  to  your  mother  and  weep  bitterly.  Tell  her : 
1  Please,  dear  Mother,  scratch  my  head.'  Lay  your 
head  on  her  lap.  Wait  for  the  proper  instant,  take  the 
key  of  my  tower  out  of  her  pocket,  and  set  me  free." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  did  what  the  Woodsprite  had  told  him, 
took  the  key ;  then  he  ran  into  the  garden,  made  an 
arrow,  put  the  arrow  on  a  catapult,  and  shot  it  far  away. 
And  all  the  nurses  and  serving-maids  ran  off  to  find  the 
arrow.  Whilst  they  were  all  running  after  the  arrow 
Ivan  Tsarevich  opened  the  iron  tower  and  freed  the 
Woodsprite.  The  Woodsprite  escaped  and  destroyed 
all  the  King's  traps. 

Now  the  King  could  not  catch  any  more  animals,  and 
became  angry,  and  attacked  his  wife  for  giving  the  key 
away  and  setting  the  Woodsprite  free.  He  assembled 
all  the  boydrs,  generals,  and  senators  to  pronounce  the 
Queen's  doom,  whether  she  should  have  her  head  cut  off, 
or  should  be  merely  banished.  So  the  Tsarevich  was 
greatly  grieved  ;  he  was  sorry  for  his  mother,  and  he 
acknowledged  his  guilt  to  his  father. 

Then  the  King  was  very  sorry,  and  didn't  know  what 
to  do  to  his  son.  He  asked  all  the  boydrs  and  generals, 
and  said :  "  Is  he  to  be  hanged  or  to  be  put  into  a 
fortress  ?  " 

"  No,  your  Majesty  !  "  the  boydrs,  and  generals,  and 
senators  answered  in  one  voice.  "  The  scions  of  kings 
are  not  slain,  and  are  not  put  in  prison  ;  they  are  sent 
out  into  the  white  world  to  meet  whatever  fate  God 
may  send  them." 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  was  sent  out  into  the  white  world, 
to  wander  in  the  four  directions,  to  suffer  the  midday 
winds  and  the  stress  of  the  winter  and  the  blasts  of  the 
autumn  ;  and  was  given  only  a  birch-bark  wallet  and 
Dyad'ka,  his  servant. 

So  the  King's  son  set  out  with  his  servant  into  the  open 


THE  TSAREVICH  AND   DYAD'KA       139 

fields.  They  went  far  and  wide  over  hill  and  dale.  Their 
way  may  have  been  long,  and  it  may  have  been  short  ; 
and  they  at  last  reached  a  well.  Then  the  Tsarevich 
said  to  his  servant,  "  Go  and  fetch  me  water." 

"  I  will  not  go  !  "  said  the  servant. 

So  they  went  further  on,  and  they  once  more  came  to 
a  well. 

"  Go  and  fetch  me  water — I  feel  thirsty,"  the 
Tsarevich  asked  him  a  second  time. 

"  I  will  not  go." 

Then  they  went  on  until  they  came  to  a  third  well. 
And  the  servant  again  would  not  fetch  any  water.    Ands 
the  Tsarevich  had  to  do  it  himself.    When  the  Tsarevich  \ 
had  gone  down  into  the  well  the  servant  shut  down  the  \ 
lid,  and  said :    "  You  be  my  servant,  and  I  will  be  the 
Tsarevich  ;   or  I  will  never  let  you  come  out  !  " 

The  Tsarevich  could  not  help  himself,  and  was  forced 
to  give  way ;  and  signed  the  bond  to  his  servant  in  his 
own  blood.  Then  they  changed  clothes  and  rode  on, 
and  came  to  another  land,  where  they  went  to  the 
Tsar's  court,  the  servant-man  first,  and  the  King's  son 
after. 

The  servant-man  sat  as  a  guest  with  the  Tsar,  ate  and 
drank  at  his  table.  One  day  he  said :  "  Mighty  Tsar, 
send  my  servant  into  the  kitchen  !  " 

So  they  took  the  Tsarevich  as  scullion,  let  him  draw 
water  and  hew  wood.  But  very  soon  the  Tsarevich  was 
a  far  finer  cook  than  all  the  royal  chefs.  Then  the  Tsar 
noticed  and  began  to  like  his  young  scullion,  and  gave  him 
gold.  So  all  the  cooks  became  envious  and  sought  some 
opportunity  of  getting  rid  of  the  Tsarevich.  One  day  he 
made  a  cake  and  put  it  into  the  oven,  so  the  cooks  put 
poison  in  and  spread  it  over  the  cake.  And  the  Tsar  sat 
at  table,  and  the  cake  was  taken  up.  When  the  Tsar  was 
going  to  take  it,  the  cook  came  running  up,  and  cried 
out :  "  Your  Majesty,  do  not  eat  it  !  "  And  he  told  all 


140  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


imaginable  lies  of  Ivan  Tsarevich.  Then  the  King 
summoned  his  favourite  hound  and  gave  him  a  bit  of  the 
cake.  The  dog  ate  it  and  died  on  the  spot. 

So  the  Tsar  summoned  the  Prince  and  cried  out  to  him 
in  a  thundering  voice :  "  How  dared  you  bake  me  a 
poisoned  cake  !  You  shall  be  instantly  tortured  to 
death  !  " 

"  I  know  nothing  about  it ;  I  had  no  idea  of  it,  your 
Majesty  !  "  the  Tsarevich  answered.  "  The  other  cooks 
were  jealous  of  your  rewarding  me,  and  so  they  have 
deliberately  contrived  the  plot." 

Then  the  Tsar  pardoned  him,  and  he  made  him  a 
horseherd. 

One  day,  as  the  Tsarevich  was  taking  his  drove  to 
drink,  he  met  the  Woodsprite  with  the  iron  hands,  the 
cast-iron  head,  and  the  body  of  bronze.  "  Good-day, 
Tsarevich  ;  come  with  me,  visit  me." 

"  I  am  frightened  that  the  horses  will  run  away." 

"  Fear  nothing.    Only  come." 

His  hut  was  quite  near.  The  Woodsprite  had  three 
daughters,  and  he  asked  the  eldest :  "  What  will  you  give 
Ivan  Tsarevich  for  saving  me  out  of  the  iron  tower  ?  r' 

"  I  will  give  him  this  table-cloth." 

With  the  table-cloth  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  back  to  his 
horses,  which  were  all  gathered  together,  turned  it  round 
and  asked  for  any  food  that  he  liked,  and  he  was  served, 
and  meat  and  drink  appeared  at  once. 

Next  day  he  was  again  driving  his  horses  to  the  river, 
and  the  Woodsprite  appeared  once  more.  "  Come  intc 
my  hut !  " 

So  he  went  with  him.  And  the  Woodsprite  asked  his 
second  daughter,  "  What  will  you  give  Ivan  Tsarevich 
for  saving  me  out  of  the  iron  tower  ?  " 

"  I  will  give  him  this  mirror,  in  which  he  can  see  al 
he  will." 

And  on  the  third  day  the  third  daughter  gave  him 


THE  TSAREVICH  AND   DYAD'KA       141 

pipe,  which  he  need  only  put  to  his  lips,  and  music,  and 
singers,  and  musicians  would  appear  before  him. 

And  it  was  a  merry  life  that  Ivan  Tsarevich  now  led. 
He  had  good  food  and  good  meat,  knew  whatever  was 
going  on,  saw  everything,  and  he  had  music  all  day  long  : 
no  man  was  better.  And  the  horses  !  They — it  was  re'ally 
wonderful — were  always  well  fed,  weU  set-up,  and 
shapely. 

Now,  the  fair  Tsarevna  had  been  noticing  the  horse- 
herd  for  a  long  time,  for  a  very  long  time,  for  how  could 
so  fair  a  maiden  overlook  the  beautiful  boy  ?  She 
wanted  to  know  why  the  horses  he  kept  were  always  so 
much  shapelier  and  statelier  than  those  which  the  other 
herds  looked  after.  "  I  will  one  day  go  into  his  room," 
she  said,  "  and  see  where  the  poor  devil  lives."  As  every 
one  knows,  a  woman's  wish  is  soon  her  deed.  So  one  day 
she  went  into  his  room,  when  Ivan  Tsarevich  was  giving 
his  horses  drink.  And  there  she  saw  the  mirror,  and 
looking  into  that  she  knew  everything.  She  took  the 
magical  cloth,  the  mirror,  and  the  pipe. 

Just  about  then  there  was  a  great  disaster  threatening 
the  Tsar.  The  seven-headed  monster,  Idolishche,  was 
invading  his  land  and  demanding  his  daughter  as  his 
wife.  "  If  you  will  not  give  her  to  me  willy,  I  will  take 
her  nilly  !  "  he  said.  And  he  got  ready  all  his  immense 
army,  and  the  Tsar  fared  ill.  And  he  issued  a  decree 
throughout  his  land,  summoned  the  boydrs  and  knights 
together,  and  promised  any  who  would  slay  the  seven- 
headed  monster  half  of  his  wealth  and  half  his  realm,  and 
also  his  daughter  as  his  wife. 

Then  all  the  princes  and  knights  and  the  boydrs 
assembled  together  to  fight  the  monster,  and  amongst 
them  Dyad'ka.  The  horseherd  sat  on  a  pony  and  rode 
behind. 

Then  the  Woodsprite  came  and  met  him,  and  said : 
:<  Where  are  you  going,  Ivan  Tsarevich  ?  " 


142  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  To  the  war." 

"  On  this  sorry  nag  you  will  not  do  much,  and  still  less 
if  you  go  in  your  present  guise.  Just  come  and  visit  me." 

He  took  him  into  his  hut  and  gave  him  a  glass  of 
vodka.  Then  the  King's  son  drank  it.  "  Do  you  feel 
strong  ?  "  asked  the  Woodsprite. 

"  If  there  were  a  log  there  fifty  puds,  I  could  throw  it 
up  and  allow  it  to  fall  on  my  head  without  feeling  the 
blow." 

So  he  was  given  a  second  glass  of  vodka. 

"  How  strong  do  you  feel  now  ?  " 

"  If  there  were  a  log  here  one  hundred  puds,  I  coulc 
throw  it  higher  than  the  clouds  on  high." 

Then  he  was  given  a  third  glass  of  vodka. 

"  How  strong  are  you  now  ?  " 

"  If  there  were  a  column  stretching  from  heaven  to 
earth,  I  should  turn  the  entire  universe  round." 

So  the  Woodsprite  took  vodka  out  of  another  bottle 
and  gave  the  King's  son  yet  more  drink,  and  his  strength 
was  increased  sevenfold.  They  went  in  front  of  the 
house  ;  and  he  whistled  loud,  and  a  black  horse  rose  out 
of  the  earth,  and  the  earth  trembled  under  its  hoofs. 
Out  of  its  nostrils  it  breathed  flames,  columns  of  smoke 
rose  from  its  ears,  and  as  its  hoofs  struck  the  ground 
sparks  arose.  It  ran  up  to  the  hut  and  fell  on  its  knees. 

"  There  is  a  horse  !  "  said  the  Woodsprite.  And  he 
gave  Ivan  Tsarevich  a  sword  and  a  silken  whip. 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  rode  out  on  his  black  steed  against 
the  enemy.  On  the  way  he  met  his  servant,  who  had 
climbed  a  birch-tree  and  was  trembling  for  fear.  Ivan 
Tsarevich  gave  him  a  couple  of  blows  with  his  whip, 
and  started  out  against  the  hostile  host.  He  slew  many 
people  with  the  sword,  and  yet  more  did  his  horse 
trample  down.  And  he  cut  off  the  seven  heads  of  the 
monster. 

Now  Marfa  Tsarevna  was  seeing  all  this,  because  she 


THE   TSAREVICH  AND   DYAD'KA       143 

kept  looking  in  the  glass,  and  so  learned  all  that  was 
going  on.  After  the  battle  she  rode  out  to  meet  Ivan 
Tsarevich,  and  asked  him  :  "  How  can  I  thank  you  ?  " 

"  Give  me  a  kiss,  fair  maiden  !  " 

The  Tsarevna  was  not  ashamed,  pressed  him  to  her 
very  heart,  and  kissed  him  so  loud  that  the  entire  host 
heard  it  ! 

Then  the  King's  son  struck  his  horse  one  blow  and 
vanished.  Then  he  returned  to  his  room,  and  sat  there 
as  though  nothing  had  happened,  whilst  his  servant 
boasted  that  he  had  gone  to  the  battle  and  slain  the  foe. 
So  the  Tsar  awarded  him  great  honours,  promised  him  his 
daughter,  and  set  a  great  feast.  But  the  Tsarevna  was 
not  so  stupid,  and  said  she  had  a  severe  headache. 

What  was  the  future  son-in-law  to  do  ?  "  Father,"  he 
said  to  the  Tsar,  "  give  me  a  ship,  I  will  go  and  get 
drugs  for  my  bride  ;  and  see  that  your  herdsman  comes 
with  me,  as  I  am  so  well  accustomed  to  him." 

The  Tsar  consented  ;  gave  him  the  ship  and  the 
herdsman. 

So  they  sailed  away,  may  be  far  or  near.  Then  the 
servant  had  a  sack  sewn,  and  the  Prince  put  into  it,  and 
cast  him  into  the  water.  But  the  Tsarevna  saw  the  evil 
thing  that  had  been  done,  through  her  magic  mirror  ; 
and  she  quickly  summoned  her  carriage  and  drove  to  the 
sea,  and  on  the  shore  there  the  Woodsprite  sat  weaving 
a  great  net. 

"  Woodsprite,  help  me  on  my  way,  for  Dyad'ka  the 
servant  has  drowned  the  King's  son  !  " 

"  Here,  maiden,  look,  the  net  is  ready.  Help  me  with 
your  white  hands." 

Then  the  Tsarevna  threw  the  net  into  the  deep  ; 
fished  the  King's  son  up,  took  him  home,  and  told  her 
father  the  whole  story. 

So  they  celebrated  a  merry  wedding  and  held  a  great 
feast.  In  a  Tsar's  palace  mead  has  not  to  be  brewed 


I44  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

or  any  wine  to  be  drawn ;  there  is  always  enough 
ready. 

Then  the  servant  in  the  meantime  was  buying  all  sorts 
of  drugs,  and  came  back.  He  came  to  the  palace,  was 
seized,  but  prayed  for  mercy.  But  he  was  too  late,  and 
he  was  shot  in  front  of  the  castle  gate. 

The  wedding  of  the  King's  son  was  very  jolly,  and  all 
the  inns  and  all  the  beer-houses  were  opened  for  an 
entire  week,  for  everybody,  without  any  charge. 

I  was  there.  I  drank  honey  and  mead,  which  came 
up  to  my  moustache,  but  never  entered  my  mouth. 


RINCE  EVSTAFI 

IN  a  certain  kingdom  once  there  lived  a  Tsar  who  had 
a  young  son — Tsarevich  Evstafi — who  did  not  love 
visiting  or  dances,  nor  promenades,  but  only  liked  going 
in  the  streets  and  walking  among  the  poor,  the  simple 
folk,  and  the  beggars,  and  bestowing  alms  on  them. 
And  the  Tsar  was  very  angry  with  him  for  this,  and 
commanded  him  to  be  taken  up  to  the  gallows  and  to  be 
delivered  to  a  cruel  death. 

So  the  attendants  took  the  Tsarevich,  and  were  on 
the  point  of  hanging  him,  when  the  Tsarevich  fell  on 
his  knees  before  his  father  and  began  to  ask  for  three 
hours'  interval.  And  the  Tsar  agreed,  and  gave  him  the 
three  hours'  respite. 

And  the  Tsarevich  went  to  the  silversmith's  and 
ordered  him  to  make  three  chests — one  of  gold,  one  of 
silver,  and  for  the  third  he  was  simply  to  divide  a  stump 
into  two,  to  mortise  out  a  trough,  and  to  attach  a  lock. 
So  the  smith  made  the  three  cases,  and  took  them  up  to 
the  gallows. 

The  Tsar  with  all  his  boydrs  looked  on  to  see  what  was 
going  to  happen.  And  the  Tsarevich  opened  the  cases 
and  showed  them.  On  the  gold  one,  very  much  gold 
had  been  poured,  on  the  silver,  very  much  silver  had 
been  poured,  and  the  wooden  one  was  buried  in  dirt. 
He  showed  them,  and  once  more  opened  the  cases,  and 
then  banged  them  tight. 

And  the  Tsar  was  even  more  angry,  and  he  asked  Prince 
Evstafi :  "  What  is  this  new  insolence  of  yours  ?  " 

"  My  king  and  my  father,"  said  the  Tsarevich  Evstafi, 
L  145 


146 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


"  you  are  here  with  the  boydrs  to  value  these  cases, 
what  they  are  worth." 

Then  the  boydrs  valued  the  silver  case  at  a  high  price, 
and  the  golden  one  at  a  higher  price  still,  and  did  not 
deign  to  look  at  the  wooden  one. 

And  Evstafi  Tsarevich  said :  "  Now  open  the  cases  and 
see  what  is  in  them." 

And  they  opened  the  golden  case  and  there  were 
snakes  and  frogs  and  all  sorts  of  dirt  in  it ;  and  looked 
into  the  silver  one,  and  they  saw  the  same  ;  and  looked 
into  the  wooden  one,  and  there  trees  with  leaves  and 
fruit  were  growing,  which  emitted  sweet  odours,  and  in 
the  middle  there  was  a  church  and  an  orchard. 

And  the  Tsar  was  humbled  ;  and  did  not  bid  Evstafi 
be  punished. 


VASILISA   POPOVNA 

IN  a  certain  kingdom,  in  a  certain  country,  once  there 
lived  Vasili  the  pope  and  his  daughter,  Vasilisa  Vasil- 
yevna.  She  used  to  dress  in  male  fashion,  used  to  sit 
astride  on  horseback ;  shot  with  her  gun,  and  did 
nothing  like  other  girls ;  and  there  were  very  few  who 
knew  that  she  was  a  maiden.  It  was  always  thought 
that  she  was  a  man,  and  they  called  her  Vasili  Vasilyevich. 
And  the  main  reason  that  they  so  called  her  was  because 
Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  loved  vodka — a  custom  ill-befitting 
a  maid. 

Once  Tsar  Barkhat1  (this  was  the  name  of  the  King) 
was  travelling  through  this  same  country  hunting  deer, 
and  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  met  him :  she  was  riding  out  to 
hounds  in  a  man's  clothes.  When  Tsar  Barkhat  saw  her, 
he  asked :  "  Who  is  this  young  man  ?  " 

And  an  attendant  answered  him :  "  Tsar,  this  is  no 
young  man,  but  a  maiden.  I  am  certain  of  it ;  she 
is  the  daughter  of  Pope  Vasili,  and  her  name  is  Vasilisa 
Vasilyevna." 

The  Tsar  had  hardly  reached  home  before  he  sent  a 
note  to  Pope  Vasili,  bidding  his  son  Vasili  Vasilyevich 
come  and  dine  with  him  at  the  imperial  table.  And  he, 
in  the  meantime,  went  to  his  old  evil-tempered  house- 
keeper and  bade  her  devise  some  means  of  eliciting 
whether  Vasili  Vasilyevich  were  a  maiden. 

The  old  evil  housekeeper  said  :   "  Hang  an  embroidery- 
frame  in  your  palace,  at  the  right  hand,  and  a  gun  on  the 
left ;   if  she  is  really  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna,  she  will,  as  soon 
1  The  word  means  velvet. 
147 


148  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

as  ever  she  enters  the  palace,  first  take  hold  of  the  frame; 
but,  if  it  is  Vasili  Vasilyevich  he  will  lay  hands  on  the 
gun." 

Tsar  Barkhat  obeyed  the  counsel  of  his  ancient  evil 
housekeeper  and  ordered  his  attendants  to  hang  an 
embroidery-frame  and  a  flint-lock  up  in  the  palace. 

As  soon  as  ever  her  father  Vasili  received  the  Tsar's 
message  he  communicated  it  to  his  daughter,  Vasilisa 
Vasilyevna,  who  at  once  went  into  the  stable  and  saddled 
the  grey  horse  with  the  silver  mane,  and  rode  straight 
out  to  the  courtyard  of  Tsar  Barkhat. 

Tsar  Barkhat  came  to  meet  her.  She  humbly  prayed 
God,  crossed  herself  as  is  ordained,  bowed  to  all  four 
sides,  and  greeted  Tsar  Barkhat  friendliwise,  and  with 
him  entered  the  palace.  They  sat  down  to  table 
together,  ate  sweetmeats,  and  drank  strong  wine. 
After  the  dinner  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  went  for  a  walk 
with  the  Tsar  through  the  palace.  As  soon  as  ever  she 
saw  the  embroidery-frame  she  began  to  scold  Tsar 
Barkhat :  "  Whatever  nonsense  have  you  hanging  up 
there,  Tsar  Barkhat  ?  I  never  saw  such  girlish  trash  in 
my  father's  house,  and  I  have  never  heard  of  it,  and  yet 
you  find  it  hanging  in  Tsar  Barkhat's  palace  !  "  And 
she  promptly  bade  a  courteous  farewell  to  the  Tsar  and 
rode  home. 

And  the  Tsar  was  still  in  a  quandary  whether  she  were 
a  maiden  or  not.  Two  days  later  Tsar  Barkhat  sent 
another  message  to  Pope  Vasili,  begging  him  send  his  son 
Vasili  Vasilyevich.  As  soon  as  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  heard 
that  she  went  into  the  stable  and  saddled  the  grey  horse 
with  the  silver  mane,  and  galloped  away  to  Tsar  Barkhat's 
courtyard.  Tsar  Barkhat  came  to  meet  her,  and  she 
greeted  him  friendlily,  modestly  prayed  to  God,  crossed 
herself,  as  is  becoming,  and  bowed  to  the  four  quarters 
of  the  wind.  At  the  advice  of  the  old  and  evil  house- 
keeper he  had  commanded  a  sweet  pie  to  be  made  for 


VASILISA   POPOVNA  149 

supper  and  pearls  to  be  mixed  in  it,  for  the  old  hag  said  : 
"  If  it  is  only  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna,  she  will  take  up  the 
pearls ;  but,  if  it  is  Vasili  Vasilyevich,  he  will  throw 
them  under  the  table." 

So  they  passed  the  time  merrily  and  they  sat  down. 
The  Tsar  sat  at  table  and  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  on  his  right. 
They  ate  sweetmeats  and  they  drank  strong  wines. 
Then  there  came  the  pie,  and  as  soon  as  even  Vasilisa 
Vasilyevna's  spoon  touched  it,  it  tingled  on  the  pearls  ; 
and  she  flung  them  and  the  pie  under  the  table,  and 
began  to  scold  the  Tsar.  "  Who,"  she  asked,  "  put  these 
into  the  pie  ?  Whatever  nonsense  have  you  here,  Tsar 
Barkhat  ?  I  never  saw  such  girlish  trash  in  my  father's 
house,  and  I  have  never  heard  of  them,  and  yet  you  find 
them  in  Tsar  Barkhat's  food  !  "  And  she  bade  farewell 
courteously  and  rode  home. 

Still  the  Tsar  was  utterly  at  a  loss  whether  it  were  a 
maiden,  and  he  had  made  up  his  mind  to  find  out.  So, 
two  days  later,  the  Tsar,  at  the  advice  of  the  old  evil- 
minded  housekeeper,  had  the  bath  heated,  for  the  old 
woman  said :  "  If  it  is  only  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  she  will 
not  go  into  the  bath  together  with  the  Tsar."  So  the 
bath  was  heated,  and  Tsar  Barkhat  sent  Pope  Vasili  another 
message  that  he  would  like  to  have  his  son  Vasili  Vasilye- 
vich as  his  guest ;  and  when  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  heard  of 
it  she  went  into  the  stable  and  saddled  the  grey  horse 
with  the  silver  mane,  and  galloped  away  to  Tsar  Bark- 
hat's  courtyard.  He  received  her  at  the  state  entrance. 
They  greeted  each  other  friendlily,  and  she  trod  on 
velvet  pile  into  the  palace.  As  she  came  in  she  prayed 
devoutly,  crossed  herself,  as  is  seemly,  and  bowed  to  all 
four  quarters,  and  sat  together  with  the  Tsar  at  table. 
They  ate  sweetmeats  and  drank  strong  wine. 

After  the  dinner  the  Tsar  said :  "  Will  you  not  come 
with  me  into  the  bath,  Vasili  Vasilyevich  ?  " 

"  If  you  wish  it,  mighty  Tsar,"  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna 


150  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

answered.  "  It  is  a  long  time  since  I  have  had  a  bath, 
and  I  should  like  a  steam  bath." 

But  before  ever  the  Tsar  had  had  time  to  undress  in 
the  front  room,  she  was  in  the  bath  and  out  of  it,  so 
quick  was  she,  and  the  Tsar  was  as  puzzled  as  ever.  In 
the  meantime  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  had  written  a  letter 
and  bade  the  attendants  give  it  to  the  Tsar  as  soon  as  he 
came  out  of  the  bath.  And  this  was  what  she  wrote  : 

"  O  you  crow,  you  Tsar  Barkhat !  The  crow  has  not 
caught  the  falcon  in  the  garden.  I  am  not  Vasili 
Vasilyevich,  but  Vasilisa  Vasilyevna  !  " 

This  was  the  way  in  which  Tsar  Barkhat  was  hood- 
winked ;  and  you  see  how  clever  and  beautiful  Vasilisa 
Vasilyevna  was. 


THE  DREAM 

ONE  day  an  old,  old  man  was  wandering  about  the  earth, 
and  he  asked  for  a  night's  shelter  from  the  peasant. 
"  Certainly,"  said  the  peasant — "  I  shall  be  only  too  glad  ; 
only,  will  you  go  on  telling  me  stories  all  night  long  ?  " 

"  Yes,  all  right !  I  will  tell  you  stories ;  only,  let  me 
rest  here." 

"  Then,  pray,  come  in  !  " 

So  the  old  man  entered  the  hut  and  lay  down  on  the 
sleeping  bench  on  the  top  of  the  stove. 

And  the  master  said :  "  Make  yourself  ready,  honoured 
guest.  We  shall  have  supper.  Now,  old  man,  tell  me  a 
story." 

"  Wait  a  bit ;  I  had  better  tell  you  one  in  the  morn- 
ing." 

"  As  it  please  you  !  "    And  they  lay  down  to  sleep. 

Then  the  old  man  went  to  sleep,  and  dreamed  that 
there  were  two  candles  blazing  in  front  of  the  images 
and  two  birds  fluttering  in  the  izba.1  He  felt  thirsty, 
and  wanted  to  drink,  got  off  the  sleeping  bench,  and  there 
were  newts  running  about  on  the  floor.  And  he  went  up 
to  the  table,  and  saw  frogs  jumping  and  croaking  on  it. 
Then  he  looked  up  at  the  master's  eldest  son,  and  there 
was  a  snake  lying  in  between  him  and  his  wife.  And  he 
looked  at  the  second  son,  and  on  the  second  son's  wife 
there  was  a  cat  which  was  yawning  at  the  man.  Then  he 
looked  at  the  third  son,  and  between  him  and  his  wife 
there  was  a  young  man  lying.  This  all  seemed  rather 
queer  to  the  old  man,  and  rather  strange. 

1  Hut. 
'Si 


152  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

So  he  went  and  lay  on  the  corn-kiln,  and  there  he 
heard  shrieks  :  "  Sister  !  Sister  !  come  and  fetch  me  !  " 
Then  he  went  and  lay  under  the  fence,  and  there  he 
heard  a  cry :  "  Pull  me  out  and  stick  me  in  again  !  " 
Then  he  went  and  lay  on  the  cauldron,  and  he  heard  a 
cry :  "  I  am  hanging  on  the  cross-beam  !  I  am  falling 
on  the  cross-beam  !  "  Then  he  went  back  into  the  hut. 

The  master  woke  up  and  said  :  "  Now  tell  me  a  story." 

But  the  old  man  replied :  "  I  shall  not  tell  you  a 
story,  only  the  truth.  Do  you  know  what  I  have  just 
dreamed  ?  I  went  to  sleep  and  thought  I  saw  two  candles 
blazing  in  front  of  the  images  and  two  birds  fluttering 
inside  the  hut." 

"  Those  are  my  two  angels  fluttering  about." 

"  And  I  also  saw  a  snake  lying  between  your  son  and 
his  wife." 

"  That  is  because  they  quarrel." 

"  And  I  looked  also  at  your  second  son,  and  there  was 
a  cat  sitting  on  his  wife,  and  yawning  at  the  man." 

"  That  means  that  they  are  bad  friends,  and  the  wife 
wants  to  get  rid  of  the  husband." 

"  Then,  when  I  looked  at  your  next  son,  I  saw  a  youth 
lying  in  between  them." 

"  That  is  not  a  youth,  but  an  angel  who  was  lying 
there  ;  and  that  is  why  they  are  on  such  good  and 
loving  terms." 

"  Why  is  it,  then,  master  of  the  house,  when  I  slipped 
off  the  sleeping  shelf  that  there  were  newts  running  on 
the  floor  ;  and,  when  I  wanted  to  drink  at  the  table,  I 
saw  frogs  leaping  about  and  croaking  ?  " 

"  Because,"  the  peasant  answered,  "  my  daughters-in- 
law  do  not  sweep  up  the  lathes ;  but  put  the  kvas  on 
the  table  when  they  are  sitting  round  together  without 
saying  grace." 

"  Then  I  went  to  sleep  on  the  corn-kiln,  and  I  heard 
a  cry :  '  Sister  !  Sister  !  come  and  fetch  me  ! J 


THE  DREAM 


153 


"  That  means  that  my  sons  never  put  the  brush  back 
into  its  place  and  say  the  proper  blessing." 

"  Then  I  went  to  lie  under  the  fence,  and  I  heard 
a  cry :  '  Pull  me  out  and  stick  me  in  again  ! ' 

"  That  means  that  the  stick's  upside-down." 

"  Then  I  went  and  lay  under  the  cauldron.  And  I 
heard  a  cry  of  *  I  am  hanging  on  the  cross-beam  !  I  am 
falling  on  the  cross-beam  ! ' : 

"  That  means,"  said  the  master,  "  that,  when  I  die, 
my  entire  house  will  fall." 


THE  SOLDIER  AND  THE  TSAR  IN  THE  FOREST 

IN  a  certain  kingdom,  in  a  certain  State,  lived  a  peasant 
who  had  two  sons.  The  recruiting-sergeant  came 
round  and  took  the  elder  brother.  So  the  elder  brother 
served  the  Tsar  with  faith  and  loyalty,  and  was  so  fortu- 
nate in  his  service  that  in  a  few  years  he  attained  a 
general's  rank. 

Now  at  this  same  time  there  was  a  new  enlistment, 
and  the  lot  fell  on  his  younger  brother,  and  they  shaved 
his  brow.  And  it  so  happened  that  he  was  made  to 
serve  in  the  very  same  regiment  in  which  his  brother 
was  a  general.  The  soldier  recognised  the  general,  but 
it  was  no  good,  because  the  general  would  not  acknow- 
ledge him  at  all :  "I  do  not  know  you,  and  you  must 
not  claim  acquaintance  with  me  !  " 

One  day  the  soldier  was  standing  on  sentry-go  at  the 
ammunition- wagons  just  outside  the  general's  quarters, 
and  the  general  was  giving  a  great  dinner,  and  a  multi- 
tude of  officers  and  gentlemen  were  going  to  him.  The 
soldier  saw  that  it  was  jollity  within,  but  that  he  him- 
self had  nothing  at  all,  and  he  began  to  weep  bitter 
tears. 

Then  the  guests  began  to  ask  him,  "  Tell  us,  soldier, 
why  are  you  crying  ?  " 

"  Why  should  I  not  cry  ?  There  is  my  own  brother 
faring  abroad  and  making  merry,  but  he  forgets 
me!" 

Then  the  guests  told  the  general  of  this ;  but  the 
general  was  angry :  "  Do  not  believe  him,  he  is  an 
utter  liar."  So  he  ordered  him  to  be  taken  away  from 

154 


THE  SOLDIER  AND  THE  TSAR 


155 


sentry-go,  and  to  be  given  thirty  blows  with  the  cat, 
so  that  he  should  not  dare  to  claim  kinship. 

This  offended  the  soldier,  so  he  put  on  undress  uniform 
and  decamped. 

In  some  time,  maybe  long,  maybe  short,  he  found 
himself  in  a  wood  so  wild,  so  dreamy,  that  he  could  not 
get  out  of  it  anywhere,  and  he  began  killing  time  and 
feeding  on  berries  and  roots. 

Just  about  this  time  the  Tsar  was  setting  out,  and 
made  a  mighty  hunt  with  a  splendid  suite.  They 
galloped  into  the  open  fields,  let  loose  the  hounds,  and 
sounded  trumpets,  and  began  to  press  in.  Suddenly 
from  somewhere  or  other  a  beautiful  stag  leapt  out 
straight  in  front  of  the  Tsar,  dived  into  the  river,  and 
swam  across  to  the  other  side  right  into  the  wood. 
The  Tsar  followed  after  him,  swam  over  the  river,  leapt 
and  leapt  and  looked;  but  the  stag  had  vanished  from 
view,  and  he  had  left  the  hunters  far  behind,  and  all 
around  him  was  the  thick  dark  forest.  Where  should 
he  go  ?  He  did  not  know :  he  could  not  see  a  single 
path.  So  until  the  fall  of  the  evening  he  ambled  about 
and  tired  himself  out. 

On  his  way  the  runaway  soldier  met  him.  "  Hail, 
good  man,  where  are  you  going  ?  " 

"  Oh,  I  was  out  on  a  hunt  and  I  lost  my  way  in  the 
wood  ;  will  you  lead  me  to  the  right  path,  brother  ?  " 

"  Who  are  you  ?  " 

"  A  servant  of  the  Tsar." 

"  Well,  it  is  dark  now ;  we  had  better  take  shelter 
somewhere  in  the  thickets,  and  to-morrow  I  will  show 
you  the  way." 

So  they  went  to  look  where  they  might  pass  the  night, 
went  on  and  on,  and  they  saw  a  little  hut.  "  Oho  ! 
God  has  sent  us  a  bed  for  the  night ;  let  us  go  there," 
said  the  soldier.  So  they  went  into  the  little  hut. 

There  an  old  woman  sat.    "  Hail,  babushka  !  " 


156  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Hail,  soldier  !  " 

"  Give  us  something  to  eat  and  drink." 

"  I  have  eaten  it  all  up  myself,  and  there  is  not  any- 
thing to  be  had." 

"  You  are  lying,  old  devil !  "  said  the  soldier,  and 
began  rummaging  about  in  the  stove  and  on  the  shelves. 
And  he  found  plenty  in  the  old  woman's  hut :  wine 
and  food,  and  all  ready.  So  they  sat  down  at  the  table, 
feasted  to  their  fill,  and  went  to  lie  down  in  the  attic. 

Then  the  soldier  said  to  the  Tsar,  "  God  guards  him 
who  guards  himself  ;  let  one  of  us  rest  and  the  other 
stand  guard."  So  they  cast  lots,  and  the  Tsar  had  to 
take  the  first  watch.  Then  the  soldier  gave  him  his 
sharp  cutlass,  put  him  at  the  door,  bade  him  not  go  to 
sleep,  and  arouse  him  if  anything  should  happen.  Then 
he  himself  lay  down  to  sleep.  But  he  thought,  "  Will 
my  comrade  be  able  to  stand  sentry-go  ?  Possibly  he 
is  unaccustomed  to  it ;  I  will  take  watch  over  him." 
Then  the  Tsar  stood  there  and  stood,  and  soon  began 
to  nod. 

"  What  are  you  nodding  for  ?  "  asked  the  soldier  : 
"  are  you  going  to  sleep  ?  " 

"  No  !  "  said  the  Tsar. 

"  Well,  then,  keep  a  good  look-out  !  " 

So  the  Tsar  stood  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  and  again 
dozed  off. 

"  Ho,  friend,  you  are  not  dozing  ?  " 

"  No,  I  don't  think  so."    And  he  again  dozed  off. 

"  Ho,  friend,  you  are  not  dozing  ?  " 

"  I  don't  think  so :  if  you  go  to  sleep  do  not  blame 
me." 

Then  the  Tsar  stood  a  quarter  of  an  hour  longer,  and 
his  legs  bowed  in,  he  fell  on  the  ground  and  went  to 
sleep. 

The  soldier  jumped  up,  took  the  cutlass  and  went  to 
recall  him  and  to  have  a  talk :  "  Why  do  you  keep 


THE  SOLDIER  AND  THE  TSAR         157 

guard  in  this  way  ?  I  have  served  for  ten  years,  and 
my  colonel  never  forgave  me  a  single  sleep :  evidently 
they  have  not  taught  you  anything.  I  forgave  you 
once  before  ;  a  third  guilt  is  unpardonable.  Well,  now 
go  to  sleep  ;  I  will  stand  and  watch." 

So  the  Tsar  went  and  lay  down  to  sleep,  and  the  soldier 
went  sentry-guard  and  did  not  close  his  eyes. 

Very  soon  there  was  a  whistling  and  a  knocking,  and 
robbers  came  into  that  hut.  The  old  woman  met  them 
and  told  them,  "  Guests  have  come  in  to  spend  the 
night." 

"  That  is  very  well,  babushka  ;  we  have  been  rambling 
the  woods  in  vain  all  night,  and  our  luck  has  come  into 
the  hut ;  give  us  supper." 

"  But  our  guests  have  eaten  and  drunk  everything  up." 
"  What  bold  fellows  they  must  be  :   where  are  they  ?  " 
"  They  have  gone  to  sleep  in  the  garret." 
"  Very  well ;   I  will  go  and  settle  them  !  " 
So  a  robber  took  a  big  knife  and  crept  up  into  the 
garret ;   but  as  soon  as  ever  he  had  poked  his  head  into 
the  door,  the  soldier  swept  his  cutlass  round,  and  off 
came  his  head. 

Then  the  soldier  took  a  drink  and  stood  and  waited 
on  eventualities.  So  the  robbers  waited  and  waited 
and  waited.  "  What  a  long  time  he  has  been  !  "  So 
they  sent  a  man  to  look  after  him  and  the  soldier  killed 
him  also,  and  in  a  short  time  he  had  chopped  off  the 
heads  of  all  the  robbers. 

At  dawn  the  Tsar  awoke,  saw  the  corpses,  and  asked, 
"  Ho,  soldier,  into  what  danger  have  we  fallen  ?  " 

So  the  soldier  told  him  all  that  had  happened.  Then 
they  came  down  from  the  attic.  When  the  soldier 
saw  the  old  woman  he  cried  out  to  her,  "  Here,  stop, 
you  old  devil !  I  must  have  some  business  with  you. 
Why  are  you  acting  as  a  receiver  for  robbers  ?  Give 
us  all  the  money  now."  So  the  old  woman  opened  a 


158  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

box  full  of  gold,  and  the  soldier  filled  his  knapsack 
with  gold  and  all  of  his  pockets.  He  then  said  to  his 
companion  :  "  You  also  take  some." 

So  the  Tsar  answered,  "  No,  brother,  I  need  not ;  our 
Tsar  has  money  enough  without  this;  and  if  he  has  it, 
we  shall  also  have  it." 

"  Well,  I  suppose  you  ought  to  know  !  "  said  the 
soldier,  and  he  took  him  out  of  the  wood  into  the  broad 
road.  "  Go,"  he  said,  "  on  this  road,  and  in  an  hour 
you  will  reach  the  town." 

"  Farewell,"  said  the  Tsar.  "  Thank  you  for  the 
service  you  have  done  me  ;  come  and  see  me,  and  I  will 
make  you  a  happy  man." 

"  Very  well ;  but  that's  a  fine  tale  !  I  am  a  runaway 
soldier :  if  I  show  my  head  in  the  town  I  shall  be  seized 
on  the  spot." 

"  Have  no  fear,  soldier :  the  Tsar  is  very  fond  of  me ; 
and,  if  I  ask  him  for  a  favour  on  your  behalf  and  tell 
him  of  your  bravery,  he  will  forgive  you  and  have  pity 
on  you." 

"  Where  can  I  find  you  ?  " 

"  Go  into  the  palace." 

"  Very  well ;   I  will  go  there  to-morrow." 

So  the  Tsar  and  the  soldier  said  good-bye.  And  the 
Tsar  went  on  the  broad  road  into  his  capital,  and  with- 
out delay  he  ordered  all  the  staffs  and  the  watches  and 
the  sentries  to  keep  their  eyes  open,  and  as  soon  as  a 
certain  soldier  came  to  give  him  the  honour  due  to  a 
general. 

Next  day,  as  soon  as  ever  the  soldier  had  appeared 
at  the  barriers,  a  sentry  ran  out  and  gave  him  a  generous 
honour.  So  the  soldier  wondered,  "  What  does  this 
mean  ?  "  And  he  asked,  "  To  whom  are  you  showing 
these  honours  ?  " 

"  To  you,  soldier." 

So  he  took  a  handful  of  gold  out  of  his  wallet  and  gave 


THE  SOLDIER   AND  THE   TSAR        159 

it  to  the  sentry  as  a  tip.  Then  he  entered  the  town. 
Wherever  he  went  all  the  sentries  gave  him  honours, 
and  he  always  paid  them  back  in  tips.  "  What  a  wretched 
dolt  was  this  servant  of  the  Tsar's :  he  has  given  a  hint 
to  everybody  that  I  have  plenty  of  money  on  me  !  " 
So  he  came  up  to  the  palace,  and  the  entire  army  was 
assembled  there,  and  the  Tsar  met  him  in  the  same 
dress  in  which  he  had  gone  hunting. 

Then  the  soldier  at  last  saw  with  whom  he  had  passed 
the  night  in  the  wood,  and  he  was  terribly  frightened. 
"  This  was  the  Tsar,"  he  said,  "  and  I  threatened  him 
with  my  cutlass,  just  as  though  he  had  been  my  brother! " 
But  the  Tsar  took  him  by  the  hand  and  rewarded  him 
with  a  generalship,  and  degraded  the  brother  into  the 
ranks,  telling  him  he  must  not  disown  his  own  kin. 


THE  TALE  OF  ALEXANDER  OF  MACEDON 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  lived  a  king  on  the  earth  whose 
name  was  Alexander  of  Macedon :  this  was  in  the  old 
days  very  long  ago.  So  long  ago  that  neither  our  grand- 
fathers, nor  great-grandfathers,  nor  our  great-great 
grandfathers,  nor  our  great-great-great-grandfathers  re- 
collect it.  This  Tsar  was  one  of  the  greatest  knights  of 
all  knights  that  ever  were.  No  champion  of  earth  could 
ever  conquer  him.  He  loved  warfare,  and  all  his  army 
consisted  entirely  of  knights.  Whomsoever  Tsar  Alexan- 
der of  Macedon  might  go  to  combat,  he  would  conquer, 
and  he  numbered  under  his  sway  all  the  kings  of  the 
earth. 

He  went  to  the  edge  of  the  world,  and  he  discovered 
such  peoples  that  he,  however  bold  he  was  himself,  felt 
afraid  of  them  ;  ferocious  folk,  fiercer  than  wild  beasts, 
who  ate  men  ;  live  folks  who  had  but  one  eye  ;  and 
that  eye  was  on  the  forehead  ;  folks  who  had  three 
eyes,  folks  who  had  only  a  single  leg  ;  others  who  had 
three,  and  they  ran  as  fast  as  an  arrow  darts  from  the 
bow.  The  names  of  these  peoples  were  the  Gogs  and 
Magogs.  Tsar  Alexander  of  Macedon  never  lost  courage 
at  seeing  these  strange  folk,  but  he  set  to  and  waged 
warfare  on  them.  It  may  be  long,  it  may  be  short, 
the  war  he  waged — we  do  not  know.  Only  the  wild 
peoples  became  dispersed  and  ran  away  from  him.  He 
began  to  hunt  and  to  chase  after  them,  and  he  chased 
them  into  such  thickets,  precipices  and  mountains  as 
no  tale  can  tell  and  no  pen  can  describe. 

So  at  last  they  were  able  to  hide  themselves  from  Tsar 

1 60 


THE  TALE  OF  ALEXANDER  OF  MACEDON  161 

Alexander  of  Macedon.  What  then  did  Tsar  Alexander 
of  Macedon  do  with  them  ?  He  rolled  one  mountain 
over  them,  and  then  another  roof-wise  on  top ;  on  the 
arch  he  put  trumpets,  and  he  went  back  to  his  own  land. 
The  winds  blew  into  the  trumpets,  and  a  fearsome  roar 
was  then  raised  to  the  skies,  and  the  Gogs  and  Magogs 
sitting  there  cried  out,  "  Oh,  evidently  Alexander  of 
Macedon  must  still  be  aliv^  !  "  The  Gogs  and  Magogs 
are  still  alive  and  to  this  day  are  afraid  of  Alexander. 
But,  before  the  end  of  the  world,  they  shall  escape. 


THE  BROTHER  OF  CHRIST 

AN  old  man  was  dying,  and  he  was  enjoining  on  his  son 
not  to  forget  the  poor. 

So  on  Easter  Day  he  went  into  the  church,  and  he 
took  some  fine  eggs  with  him  with  which  to  greet  his 
poor  brothers,  although  his  mother  was  very  angry  with 
him  for  so  doing — for  she  was  an  evil-minded  woman 
and  merciless  to  the  poor. 

When  he  reached  the  church  there  was  only  one  egg 
left,  and  there  was  one  dirty  old  man.  And  the  lad  took 
him  home  to  break  his  fast  with  him. 

When  the  mother  saw  the  poor  man,  she  was  very 
wroth.  "  It  would  be  better,"  she  said,  "  to  break  your 
fast  with  a  dog  than  with  such  a  filthy  old  beggar." 
And  she  would  not  break  the  fast. 

So  the  son  and  the  old  man  broke  their  fast  together, 
and  went  out  for  a  walk.  Then  the  son  looked  and  saw 
that  the  dress  of  the  old  man  was  very  shabby,  but  the 
cross  on  him  burnt  like  fire. 

"  Come,"  said  the  old  man,  "  we  will  change  crosses ; 
you  become  my  brother  by  the  cross." 

"  No,  brother,"  the  lad  replied,  "  however  much  I 
may  wish  it ;  for  I  should  get  such  a  fine  cross  as  you  are 
carrying,  and  can  give  you  nothing  in  return." 

But  the  old  man  overbore  the  youth,  and  they  ex- 
changed. And  he  asked  him  to  come  as  his  guest  on 
Tuesday  in  Easter  week.  "  And  if  you  want  to  find  your 
way,"  he  said,  "  follow  the  path  yonder.  You  need  only 
say,  *  The  Lord  bless  me  !  '  and  you  will  find  me." 

That  very  Tuesday  the  youth  set  out  on  the  footpath, 


THE  BROTHER  OF  CHRIST  163 

and  said :  "  The  Lord  bless  me  !  "  and  set  out  on  his 
way  journeying  forth.  He  went  a  little  way,  and  he 
heard  children  crying :  "  Brother  of  Christ,  speak  of  us 
to  Christ,  whether  we  must  be  long  in  pain  ?  "  And  he 
went  on  a  few  steps  farther  ;  and  he  saw  maidens  ladling 
water  out  of  one  well  into  another.  "  Brother  of  Christ!" 
they  said  to  him,  "  speak  of  us  to  Christ,  how  long  we 
must  remain  in  torture  ?  "  And  he  went  on  still  farther, 
and  saw  a  hedge,  and  beneath  that  hedge  there  became 
visible  old  men,  and  they  were  all  covered  with  slime. 
And  they  said  to  him :  "  Brother  of  Christ,  speak  of  us 
to  Christ,  how  long  shall  we  remain  in  pain  ?  " 

And  so  he  went  on  and  on.  Then  he  saw  the  very  old 
man  with  whom  he  had  broken  his  fast.  And  the  old 
man  asked  him :  "  What  did  you  see  on  the  way  ?  " 

And  the  youth  recounted  all  that  he  had  met. 

"  Well,  do  you  recognise  me  ?  "  said  the  old  man. 
And  it  was  only  at  this  moment  that  the  peasant  boy 
understood  that  he  was  speaking  to  Jesus  Christ  Himself. 

"  Why,  O  Lord,  are  the  children  tortured  ?  " 

"  Their  mother  cursed  them  in  the  womb,  and  they 
can  never  enter  Paradise." 

"  And  the  maidens  ?  " 

"  They  traded  in  milk,  and  they  mixed  water  with 
their  milk  ;  and  now  for  all  eternity  they  must  ladle  out 
water." 

"  And  the  old  men  ?  " 

"  They  lived  in  the  white  world,  and  they  used  to  say  : 
1  How  pleasant  it  really  might  be  to  live  in  this  world  ! 
But,  as  it  is,  there  is  nothing  worth  caring  about !  '  So 
they  must  bear  up  against  the  mire."1 

Then  Christ  led  the  boy  into  Paradise,  and  told  him 

1  Cf.  Dante,  Inf. 

Fitti  nel  limo  dicon ;  'Tristi  fummo. 

Nel  dolce  mondo  che  dal  sol  s'allegra.   .   .  . 

Or  c'attristiam'  nella  belletta  negra. 


164  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

his  place  was  ready  for  him  there,  and  you  may  be  sure 
the  boy  was  none  too  anxious  to  leave  it  on  that  day. 
And  afterwards  He  led  him  into  Hell,  and  there  the 
peasant's  mother  was  sitting. 

So  the  peasant  boy  began  to  beseech  Christ  to  have 
mercy  on  her.  "  Have  mercy  on  her,  Lord  !  " 

And  Christ  bade  the  lad  plait  a  rope  of  brome-grass. 
The  peasant  plaited  the  rope  of  brome-grass,  and  the 
Lord  must  have  supervised. 

And  he  brought  it  to  Christ,  Who  said :  "  Now  you 
have  been  weaving  this  rope  for  thirty  years  and  have 
laboured  sufficiently  for  your  mother,  rescue  her  out  of 
Hell." 

And  the  son  dangled  the  rope  down  to  the  mother 
who  was  sitting  in  the  boiling  pitch.  And  the  rope 
never  burned  nor  singed  :  so  did  God  provide.  And  the 
son  tried  and  tried  to  drag  his  mother  up,  and  caught 
hold  of  her  head,  and  she  cried  out  to  him :  "  You 
savage  dog  !  Why,  you  are  almost  choking  me  !  "  Then 
the  rope  broke  off,  and  the  guilty  soul  once  more  flew 
down  into  the  burning  pitch. 

"  She  had  not  desired  to  escape,"  said  Christ,  "  and 
all  of  her  heart  is  down  there,  and  she  must  stay  there 
for  all  eternity." 


ALYOSHA   POPOVICH1 

IN  the  sky  the  young  bright  moon  was  being  born,  and 
on  the  earth,  of  the  old  prebendary,  the  old  pope  Leon, 
a  son  was  born,  a  mighty  knight,  and  he  was  called  by 
name  Alyosha  Popovich,  a  fair  name  for  him. 

When  they  began  to  feed  Alyosha,  what  was  a  week's 
food  for  any  other  babe  was  a  day's  food  for  him,  what 
was  a  year's  food  for  others  was  a  week's  food  for  him. 

Alyosha  began  going  about  the  streets  and  playing 
with  the  young  boys.  If  he  touched  the  little  hand  of 
anyone,  that  hand  was  gone :  if  he  touched  the  little 
nose  of  anyone,  that  nose  was  done  for :  his  play  was 
insatiate  and  terrible.  Anyone  he  grappled  with  by  the 
waist,  he  slew. 

And  Alyosha  began  to  grow  up,  so  he  asked  his  mother 
and  father  for  their  blessing,  for  he  wished  to  go  and  to 
fare  into  the  open  field. 

His  father  said  to  him,  "  Alyosha  Popovich,  you  are 
faring  into  the  open  field,  but  we  have  yet  one  who  is 
even  mightier  than  you :  do  you  take  into  your  service 
Maryshko,  the  son  of  Paran." 

So  the  two  youths  mounted  their  good  horses  and  they 
fared  forth  into  the  open  field.  The  dust  rose  behind 
them  like  a  column,  such  doughty  youths  were  they  to 
behold. 

So  the  two  doughty  youths  went  on  to  the  court  of 
Prince  Vladimir.  And  Alyosha  Popovich  went  straight 
to  the  white  stone  palace,  to  Prince  Vladimir,  crossed 

1  This  is  a  prose  version  of  a  byl'ina  :  Alyosha  Popovich  is  one  of  the 
Kiev  cycle. 

165 


166  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

himself  as  is  befitting,  bowed  down  in  learned-wise  in  all 
four  directions,  and  especially  low  to  Prince  Vladimir. 
Prince  Vladimir  came  to  meet  the  doughty  youths  and 
set  them  down  at  an  oaken  table,  gave  the  doughty 
youths  good  food  and  drink,  and  then  asked  their  news. 
And  the  doughty  youths  sat  down  to  eat  baked  ginger- 
bread and  to  drink  strong  wines. 

Then  Prince  Vladimir  asked  the  doughty  youths, 
"  Who  are  ye,  doughty  youths  ?  Are  ye  mighty  knights 
of  prowess  or  wandering  wayfarers  bearing  your  burdens  ? 
I  do  not  know  either  your  name  or  your  companion's 
name." 

So  Alyosha  Popovich  answered,  "  I  am  the  son  of  the 
old  prebendary  Leon,  his  young  son  Alyosha  Popovich, 
and  my  comrade  and  servant  is  Maryshko,  the  son  of 
Paran." 

And  when  Alyosha  had  eaten  and  drunk  he  went  and 
sat  on  the  brick  stove  to  rest  from  the  midday  heat, 
whilst  Maryshko  sat  at  the  table. 

Just  at  that  time  the  knight,  the  Snake's  son,  was 
making  a  raid  and  was  ravaging  all  the  kingdom  of  Prince 
Vladimir.  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich1  came  to  the  white 
stone  palace,  came  to  Prince  Vladimir.  With  his  left 
leg  he  stepped  on  the  threshold  and  with  his  right  leg 
on  the  oaken  table.  He  drank  and  ate  and  had  conversa- 
tion with  ^ the  princess,  and  he  mocked  Prince  Vladimir 
and  reviled  him.  He  put  one  round  of  bread  to  his 
cheek  and  piled  one  on  another ;  on  his  tongue  he  put 
an  entire  swan,  and  he  thrust  off  all  the  pastry  and 
swallowed  it  all  at  a  gulp. 

Alyosha  Popovich  was  lying  on  the  brick  stove,  and 
spake  in  this  wise  to  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich :  "  My  old 
father,  Leon  the  pope,  had  a  little  cow  which  was  a 
great  glutton  :  it  used  to  eat  up  all  the  beer  vats  with 
all  the  lees ;  and  then  the  little  cow,  the  glutton,  came 

1  The  strong  man,  the  Serpent's  son. 


ALYOSHA   POPOVICH  167 

to  the  lake,  and  it  drank  and  lapped  all  the  water  out 
of  the  lake,  took  it  all  up  and  it  burst,  and  so  it  would 
also  have  torn  Tugarin  to  bits  after  his  feed." 

Then  Tugarin  was  wroth  with  Alyosha  Popovich  and 
burst  on  him  with  his  steel  knife.  Alyosha  turned  aside 
and  stood  behind  an  oaken  column.  Then  Alyosha 
spoke  in  this  wise  :  "I  thank  you,  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich  ; 
you  have  given  me  a  steel  knife  :  I  will  break  your  white 
breast,  I  will  put  out  your  clear  eyes,  and  I  will  behold 
your  mettlesome  heart." 

Just  at  that  time  Maryshko  Paranov  leapt  out  from 
behind  the  table,  the  oaken  table,  on  to  his  swift  feet, 
seized  Tugarin,  and  fell  on  his  back  and  threw  him  over  ; 
lifted  up  one  of  the  chairs  and  hurled  in  the  white  stone 
palace,  and  the  glass  windows  were  shattered. 

Then  Alyosha  Popovich  said  from  the  brick  stove, 
"  O  Maryshko,  son  of  Paran,  thou  hast  been  a  faithful 
servant !  " 

And  Maryshko  the  son  of  Paran  answered,  "  Do  you 
give  me,  Alyosha  Popovich,  your  steel  knife,  and  I  will 
break  open  the  white  breast  of  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich,  I 
will  close  his  clear  eyes,  and  I  will  gaze  on  his  mettlesome 
heart." 

But  Alyosha  answered,  "  Hail,  Maryshko  Paranov,  do 
you  not  sully  the  white  stone  palace  ;  let  him  go  into 
the  open  field  wherever  he  may,  and  we  will  meet  him 
to-morrow  in  the  open  field." 

So,  in  the  morning  early,  very  early,  Maryshko  the 
son  of  Paran  arose,  together  with  the  little  sun,  and  he 
led  out  the  stout  horses  to  water  them  in  the  swift 
stream.  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich  flew  into  the  open  and 
challenged  Alyosha  Popovich  to  fight  him  in  the  open 
field.  And  Maryshko  Paranov  came  to  Alyosha  Popovich 
and  said  :  "  God  must  be  your  judge,  Alyosha  Popovich  : 
you  would  not  give  me  your  steel  knife  ;  I  should  have 
carved  out  the  white  breast  from  that  pagan  thie  If, 


168  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

should  have  gouged  out  his  bright  eyes,  and  I  should  have 
taken  out  his  mettlesome  heart  and  gazed  on  it.  Now, 
what  will  you  make  of  Tugarin  ?  He  is  flying  about  in 
the  open." 

Then  Alyosha  Popovich  spake  in  this  wise :  "  That 
was  no  service,  but  treachery." 

So  Alyosha  led  out  his  horse,  saddled  it  with  a  Circas- 
sian saddle,  fastened  it  on  with  twelve  silken  girths,  not 
for  the  sake  of  decoration,  but  for  the  sake  of  strength. 
And  Alyosha  set  out  into  the  open  field.  Alyosha  set 
out  into  the  open  field,  and  he  saw  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich, 
who  was  flying  in  the  open. 

Then  Alyosha  made  a  prayer :  "  Holy  Mother  of 
God,  do  thou  punish  the  black  traitor,  and  grant  out  of 
the  black  cloud  a  thick  gritty  rain  that  shall  damp 
Tugarin's  light  wings,  and  he  may  fall  on  the  grey  earth 
and  stand  on  the  open  field  !  " 

It  was  like  two  mountains  falling  on  each  other  when 
Tugarin  and  Alyosha  met.  They  fought  with  their 
clubs,  and  their  clubs  were  shattered  at  the  hilts.  Their 
lances  met,  and  their  lances  broke  into  shreds.  Then 
Alyosha  Popovich  got  down  from  his  saddle  like  a  sheaf 
of  oats,  and  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich  was  almost  striking 
Alyosha  down.  But  Alyosha  Popovich  was  cautious.  He 
stood  between  his  horse's  feet  and,  turning  round  to  the 
other  side  from  there,  smote  Tugarin  with  his  steel 
knife  under  his  right  breast,  and  threw  Tugarin  from 
his  good  horse.  And  then  Alyosha  Popovich  cried  out, 
"Tugarin,  I  thank  you,  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich,  for  the 
steel  knife :  I  will  tear  out  your  white  breast,  I  will  gouge 
out  your  bright  eyes,  and  I  will  gaze  on  your  mettlesome 
heart." 

Then  Alyosha  cut  off  his  turbulent  head,  and  he  took 
the  turbulent  head  to  Prince  Vladimir.  And  as  he  went 
on  he  began  playing  with  that  little  head,  flinging  it  high 
up  in  the  air  and  catching  it  again  on  his  sharp  lance. 


ALYOSHA   POPOVICH  169 

But  Vladimir  was  dismayed.  "  I  see  Tugarin  bringing 
me  the  turbulent  head  of  Alyosha  Popovich :  he  will 
now  take  captive  all  of  our  Christian  kingdom." 

But  Maryshko  Paranov  gave  him  answer :  "  Do  not 
be  distressed,  oh  bright  little  sun,  Vladimir,  in  thy  capital 
of  Kiev.  If  Tugarin  is  coming  on  earth  and  is  not  flying 
in  the  skies  he  is  putting  his  turbulent  head  on  my  steel 
lance.  Do  not  be  afraid,  Prince  Vladimir  ;  whatever 
comes  I  will  make  friends  with  him." 

Then  Maryshko  the  son  of  Paran  looked  out  into  the 
open  field,  and  he  recognised  Alyosha  Popovich,  and  he 
said,  "  I  can  see  the  knightly  gait  and  youthful  step  of 
Alyosha  Popovich.  He  is  guiding  his  horse  uphill  and 
he  is  playing  with  a  little  head :  he  is  throwing  the  little 
head  sky-high,  and  is  catching  the  little  head  on  the  point 
of  his  sharp  lance.  He  who  is  riding  is  not  the  pagan 
Tugarin,  but  Alyosha  Popovich,  the  son  of  the  old 
prebendary,  the  pope  Leon,  who  is  bringing  the  head 
of  the  pagan  Tugarin  Zmyeyevich." 


GOD'S    BLESSING    COMPASSES    ALL    THINGS 

ONCE  upon  a  time  in  a  certain  country,  in  a  certain 
kingdom,  there  were  two  peasants,  Ivan  and  Naum. 
They  entered  into  a  partnership  and  went  together  to 
look  for  work,  and  they  rambled  about  until  they  came 
to  a  rich  village  and  got  work  with  different  masters. 
For  the  whole  week  they  kept  at  work  and  met  on 
Sunday  for  the  first  time. 

"  Brother,  how  much  have  you  earned  ?  "  asked  Ivan. 

"  God  has  given  me  five  roubles." 

"  God  gave  them  to  you  ?  He  does  not  give  much 
unless  you  work  for  it." 

"  No,  Brother,  without  God's  blessing  you  can  do 
nothing  ;  you  cannot  gain  a  groat." 

So  they  quarrelled  about  this,  and  at  last  they  decided, 
"  We  will  each  go  our  own  way.  We  will  ask  the  first 
man  we  meet  which  of  us  is  right.  He  who  loses  the 
bet  must  sacrifice  all  his  earnings." 

So  they  went  on  some  twenty  paces.  Afterwards  they 
came  across  an  unholy  spirit  in  human  guise,  and  they 
asked  him  and  received  his  reply.  "  What  you  earn  for 
yourself  is  the  proper  thing  ;  place  no  reliance  on  God." 

Naum  gave  Ivan  his  money  and  returned  empty- 
handed  to  his  master.  One  week  later  the  two  men  met 
once  again,  and  set  about  the  same  argument.  Naum 
said :  "  Though  you  took  my  money  from  me  last  week, 
still,  this  week  God  gave  me  yet  more." 

"  If  God  gave  it  you  as  you  said,  we  will  once  more 
ask  the  first  person  who  meets  us  who  is  right.  The 

170 


GOD'S  BLESSING  COMPASSES  ALL  THINGS  171 

loser  of  the  bet  shall  have  the  money,  and  shall  have  his 
right  hand  hewn  off." 

Naum  consented.  On  their  way  they  met  the  same 
devil,  who  returned  the  same  reply.  Ivan  gave  Naum 
his  money,  hacked  off  his  right  hand,  and  left  it  behind. 

Naum  pondered  for  a  long  time  what  he  should  do 
without  his  right  hand.  Who  would  give  him  meat  and 
drink  ?  But  God  is  merciful.  So  he  went  to  the  river, 
and  he  lay  down  on  a  boat  on  the  shore.  "  I  will  sit  down 
here,  and  to-morrow  I  may  see  what  I  shall  do,  for  the 
morning  is  wiser  than  the  evening." 

And  about  midnight  very  many  devils  assembled  on 
the  boat  and  began  to  tell  each  other  what  tricks  they 
had  played.  The  first  said  :  "  I  started  a  quarrel  between 
two  peasants,  backed  up  the  one  who  was  in  the  wrong ; 
and  the  one,  who  was  in  the  right,  had  his  hand  hacked 
off." 

"  That's  not  much  of  a  feat  !  If  he  were  to  wave  his 
hand,  three  times  over  the  dew,  his  hand  would  grow 
again,"  said  the  second. 

Then  the  third  began  to  boast,  "  I  have  sucked  a 
lord's  daughter  dry,  and  she  can  hardly  stir." 

"  What  !  if  any  one  had  any  compassion  on  the  lord, 
he  would  heal  the  daughter  at  once.  It  is  as  simple  as 
possible.  You  have  only  to  take  this  herb  " — pointing 
to  a  herb  on  the  shore — "  cook  it,  boil  her  in  the  brew, 
and  she  will  be  healed." 

"  In  a  certain  pond,"  a  fifth  devil  said,  "  there  is  a 
peasant  who  has  put  up  a  water-mill,  and  for  many 
years  he  has  been  striving  to  make  it  go,  but  whenever 
he  lets  the  water  through  the  sluice,  I  make  a  hole  in  it, 
and  all  the  water  flows  through." 

"  What  a  fool  your  peasant  is  !  "  said  the  sixth  devil. 
"  He  ought  to  dam  it  up  well,  and  as  soon  as  the  water 
breaks  through,  throw  in  a  sheaf  of  straw,  and  all  your 
work  would  be  no  good." 


172  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Naum  had  listened  very  attentively.  Next  day  he 
grew  his  hand  on  again,  then  he  saw  to  the  peasant's 
dam,  and  he  healed  the  lord's  daughter.  Both  the 
peasant  and  the  lord  rewarded  him  richly,  and  he  lived  a 
fine  life. 

Once  he  met  his  former  companion,  who  was  very 
much  astonished,  and  asked :  "  How  is  it  you  have 
become  so  rich,  and  how  did  you  grow  your  hand  on 
again  ?  " 

Naum  told  him  exactly  what  had  happened,  and  kept 
nothing  back. 

Ivan  listened  very  attentively,  and  thought,  "  Ha  ! 
I  shall  do  the  same,  and  shall  become  richer  than  he  !  " 
So  he  went  to  the  river  and  lay  down  on  the  shore,  in  the 
boat. 

And  at  midnight  all  the  devils  gathered  together. 
"  Brothers,"  they  said,  "  somebody  must  have  been 
eavesdropping  on  us,  for  the  peasant's  hand  grew  again, 
the  maiden  is  healed,  and  the  mill-wheel  is  turning  !  " 

So  they  burst  on  the  boat,  found  Ivan,  and  tore  him 
into  tiny  bits. 

Then  the  wolves  wept  cows'  tears. 


SHEMYAK   THE   JUDGE 

ONCE  in  a  certain  country,  in  a  certain  kingdom,  there 
lived  two  brothers ;  one  was  rich  and  the  other  poor. 
One  day  the  poor  brother  came  to  the  rich  and  asked 
him  for  a  horse  to  fetch  wood  out  of  the  forest.  The 
rich  man  lent  him  a  horse.  Then  the  poor  man  also 
asked  him  for  a  horse-collar :  this  the  rich  brother  re- 
fused, and  became  angry.  Then  the  poor  man  decided 
to  tie  the  wood  to  the  horse's  tail.  And  so  he  drove 
into  the  wood.  He  cut  down  so  much  wood  that  the 
horse  could  hardly  drag  it.  When  he  got  home  he 
opened  the  door,  but  he  forgot  to  remove  the  cross-beam. 
The  horse  jumped  over  it,  but  wrenched  his  tail  out. 

The  poor  brother  brought  the  rich  man  the  horse 
back  without  a  tail.  When  he  saw  the  animal  in  this 
condition,  he  would  not  take  it ;  but  went  with  the 
poor  man  before  Judge  Shemyak.  The  poor  man  went 
with  his  brother,  and  surmised  he  would  fare  very  badly, 
for  the  sentence  would  be  exile  ;  the  poor  man  is  a 
butt  for  all,  as  he  cannot  give  anything. 

The  brothers  came  to  a  rich  peasant  and  asked  for  a 
night's  lodging.  The  peasant  gave  the  rich  man  good 
food  and  drink,  but  the  poor  man  nothing.  The  poor 
man  lay  on  the  oven  and  saw  how  merry  the  other  two 
were  making  ;  and  fell  down  and  killed  the  child  in  the 
cradle. 

Then  the  peasant  decided  to  go  with  the  brothers,  to 
bring  a  further  indictment  against  the  poor  man.  They 
went  off  together,  the  peasant  and  the  rich  brother  in 
front,  and  the  poor  man  after  them.  Then  they  crossed 

173 


174  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

a  bridge  :  the  poor  man  considered  that  he  would  hardly 
escape  the  Court  with  his  life  ;  so  he  jumped  over  the 
bridge,  in  order  to  commit  suicide.  But,  under  the 
bridge,  a  son  was  bathing  his  sick  father,  and  the  poor 
man  fell  plump  on  the  old  man  and  drowned  him. 
Then  the  son  also  went  up  to  the  Court  in  order  to 
bring  a  plaint  against  the  poor  man. 

The  rich  man  put  in  a  plea  to  the  Court  that  his  poor 
brother  had  torn  off  the  horse's  tail.  In  the  meantime 
the  poor  man  had  wrapped  a  stone  in  a  cloth  and  was 
threatening  the  judge  with  it  behind  the  brother's  back, 
for  he  was  thinking,  "  If  the  judge  goes  against  me,  I 
will  kill  him."  The  judge  believed  that  the  poor  man 
was  offering  him  a  hundred  roubles  so  as  to  prove  his 
case,  and  he  gave  judgment  that  the  rich  man  must 
leave  the  horse  in  the  poor  peasant's  possession  until  the 
tail  grew  again. 

Then  the  peasant  came  and  complained  that  the  poor 
man  had  killed  his  son.  Once  again  the  poor  man  lifted 
up  the  same  stone  in  a  menacing  way  against  the  judge, 
behind  the  peasant's  back.  And  the  judge  this  time  felt 
perfectly  sure  of  getting  a  hundred  roubles  more  for 
the  judgment.  And  he  commanded  the  peasant  to  give 
his  wife  to  the  poor  peasant  until  another  son  was  born. 
"  Then  you  can  take  your  wife  and  the  child  back." 

This  time  it  was  the  son's  turn.  And  he  brought  in 
a  plea  that  the  poor  man  had  murdered  his  father. 
Once  again  the  poor  man  took  the  stone  out  of  his  pocket 
and  showed  it  to  the  judge.  Then  the  judge  felt  sure 
he  would  get  altogether  three  hundred  roubles  in  the 
case,  and  he  commanded  the  son  to  go  to  the  bridge, 
"  and  you,  poor  man,  go  there  ;  stop  under  the  bridge  ; 
and  the  son  is  to  jump  into  the  water  plump  on  to  you 
and  to  kill  you." 

Judge  Shemyak  sent  his  servant  to  the  poor  man  to 
ask  for  the  three  hundred  roubles. 


SHEMYAK   THE   JUDGE  175 

Then  the  poor  man  showed  the  servant  the  stone  with 
which  he  had  threatened  the  judge:  "If  the  judge  had 
not  decided  in  my  favour  I  should  have  killed  him  with 
this  stone  !  " 

When  the  judge  heard  of  this,  he  crossed  himself 
piously  and  said  :  "  Thank  God  I  decided  for  the  right 
party." 

The  poor  brother  went  to  the  rich  brother  to  fetch 
the  horse  from  him  in  accordance  with  the  judge's 
decision,  until  the  tail  should  grow  again.  The  rich 
man  did  not  want  to  give  the  horse,  so  he  gave  him 
instead  five  roubles,  three  quarters  of  corn,  and  a  milch- 
goat  ;  and  made  peace  with  him  for  all  time. 

Then  the  poor  man  went  to  the  peasant,  and  in 
accordance  with  the  judgment,  asked  for  the  wife,  in 
order  that  she  might  remain  with  him  until  another 
child  came.  Then  the  peasant  made  a  compromise  with 
the  poor  man,  gave  him  fifty  roubles,  a  cow  and  a  calf, 
and  a  mare  with  a  foal,  and  four  quarters  of  corn,  and 
settled  matters  with  him. 

Then  the  poor  man  went  to  the  son  whose  father  he 
had  killed,  and  read  the  judgment  out  to  him,  according 
to  which  the  son  was  to  jump  on  him  from  the  bridge, 
so  as  to  kill  him.  Then  the  son  began  to  consider : 
"  If  I  do  jump,  possibly  I  shall  kill  him,  possibly  I  shall 
not ;  anyhow  I  shall  be  done  for."  So  he  made  terms 
with  the  poor  man,  gave  him  two  hundred  roubles  and 
a  horse,  and  five  quarters  of  corn  ;  and  lived  in  peace 
with  him  for  ever. 


A  STORY  OF  SAINT  NICHOLAS 

IN  a  certain  city,  in  a  certain  state,  there  once  lived  a 
merchant  Nicholas  with  his  wife.  From  the  beginning 
they  lived  happily  and  were  wealthy.  But  their  chief 
joy  was  in  this :  that  the  Lord  had  presented  them  with 
a  son,  and  such  a  beautiful  son  too  !  Sensible  and  wise — 
and  the  only  prayer  which  the  mother  and  father  ad- 
dressed to  God  and  to  his  holy  godfather  St.  Nicholas 
the  Wonder- Worker,  was  that  they  should  endow  him 
with  happiness  and  long  life. 

But,  as  old  age  crept  on,  they,  for  some  reason,  began 
to  become  poor  ;  and  they  became  so  poor  that  Nicholas, 
from  a  famous  merchant,  became  a  mere  tradesman, 
and  they  only  had  one  little  shop,  and  in  the  shop  there 
was  a  chest  of  tobacco,  a  few  nails,  and  a  little  iron. 
And  either  from  the  fact  that  they  were  growing  poorer, 
or  that  they  were  becoming  older,  the  mother  and  father 
of  Ivan — for  this  was  the  name  of  Nicholas's  son — had 
become  feeble. 

One  day  the  father  called  Ivan  to  him,  and  said : 
"  Now,  our  beloved  son,  we,  it  seems,  shall  soon  die  ; 
but  do  you  not  weep  for  us,  but  rather  pray  God.  For 
we  have  already  lived  out  our  life  ;  and  this  is  as  it  must 
be.  But  you  bury  us  properly,  for  I  have  saved  up 
money  for  you  for  this  purpose.  One  third  of  the  money 
you  are  to  spend  on  the  funeral,  the  second  on  the 
Requiem  Mass,  and  with  the  third  buy  a  shop  and  go 
into  trade.  And  I  will  give  you  my  blessing.  Do  not 
give  any  one  false  measure  or  cheat ;  and  if  you  shall 
grow  rich,  do  not  forget  God,  and  to  give  alms  to  the 

176 


A  STORY  OF  SAINT  NICHOLAS          177 

poor,  as  I  did  time  agone.  Now,  my  son,  farewell.  May 
the  Divine  mercy  guard  you  and  our  guilty  souls." 

Seven  days  passed,  and  Ivan  buried  his  father,  and  his 
mother  soon  afterwards,  and  began  to  trade.  Soon  he 
began  to  overlook  the  stock,  and  in  the  corner  he  found 
an  image  of  the  holy  St.  Nicholas  the  Wonder- Worker. 
So  he  brought  the  image  into  the  izba1  and  he  poured 
water  into  a  vessel,  washed  it  out,  cleaned  it  in  front  of 
the  image,  and  soon  after  went  to  market,  bought  a 
little  lamp,  and  lighted  it  in  front  of  the  image. 

On  the  first  Sunday  he  called  the  Pope  in,  had  a  Mass 
said  for  his  parents,  chanted  a  prayer  to  St.  Nicholas  the 
Wonder- Worker,  and  took  the  image  into  the  shop,  so 
that  he  might  gaze  at  it  constantly  ;  and  thereafter, 
whenever  he  went  into  the  shop,  he  used  first  of  all  to 
pray  before  the  image,  and  afterwards  he  began  to  trade. 

And  his  trade  went  so  well  that  it  seemed  as  if  the 
Lord  Himself  had  been  sending  customers.  Later  on  he 
built  a  second  shop,  and  every  day  he  gave  much  money  in 
alms,  and  amongst  others,  to  one  old  man  who  every 
day  repaired  to  him.  Ivan  was  very  fond  of  him,  and 
when  a  new  clerk  had  to  be  engaged  for  the  new  shop, 
he  said  to  this  old  man :  "  Grandfather,  I  do  not  know 
thy  hallowed  name  ;  I  do  not  know,  father,  how  to  call 
thee  ;  only  do  not  be  angry  with  me,  for  I  have  built  a 
new  shop,  and  I  have  no  clerk.  Come  with  me  as  my 
clerk,  and  I  will  obey  you  as  I  would  have  obeyed  my 
own  father.  Do  be  kind  and  do  not  refuse." 

The  old  man  at  the  beginning  would  very  gladly  have 
refused  ;  but  afterwards  they  agreed,  and  began  to  live 
and  dwell  together,  and  Ivan,  in  all  things,  obeyed  the 
old  man,  and  called  him  Bdtyusbka. 

The  old  man  carried  on  trade  prosperously  and  profit- 
ably ;  and  one  day  he  said  :  "  Ivanushka,  your  trade 
does  not  altogether  suit  me  ;  for  you  trade  in  tobacco, 

1  Hut. 


178  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

and  God  loves  not  smoking,  nor  does  He  love  tobac- 
conists. So  buy  some  small  goods,  and  you  will  have 
more  purchasers,  and  will  not  incur  sin." 

Ivan  obeyed,  and  purchased  many  goods  of  all  sorts, 
and  set  up  shop  anew.  When  all  the  goods  were  sold 
out,  Ivan  went  into  the  counting-house,  and  he  saw 
threefold  his  money  wherever  he  looked.  Ivan  was 
extremely  joyous  at  so  big  a  profit,  and  he  called  in  the 
Pope,  and  he  recited  the  prayer  to  Nicholas  the  Wonder- 
Worker.  And  as  to  the  old  man,  he  was  so  happy,  and 
he  prayed  so  heartily  to  God. 

So  they  traded  on  for  three  years  more,  and  Ivan 
became  so  rich  that  the  old  man  advised  him  to  sell  out 
and  cross  the  seas  with  his  goods.  And  Ivan  obeyed  the 
old  man,  bought  a  ship,  loaded  it  with  wares,  and  gave 
his  house  to  the  poor,  setting  one  of  them  in  as  the 
master  until  he  should  come  back  himself.  And  they 
prayed  to  God,  and  he  and  the  old  man  set  sail. 

Soon  they  arrived :  it  may  be  near,  it  may  be  far — 
the  tale  is  soon  told,  but  the  deed  is  not  soon  done — and 
suddenly  robbers  came  upon  them  and  plundered  them 
of  all  their  goods :  and  only  left  themselves  alive  and 
unscathed.  It  was  a  bitter  shock  to  Ivan.  But  the  old 
man  quieted  him,  and  said  that  all  of  this  was  for  the 
best.  So  they  sailed  on  for  three  days  after  this ;  and 
on  the  third  day  they  landed  on  an  island,  and  they  saw 
a  great  mass  of  bricks.  The  old  man  said  to  Ivan  :  "  Get 
ready,  Ivanushka,  and  load  these  bricks  on  your  ship." 
Ivan  said  :  "  What  shall  I  do  with  these  bricks  ?  I  would 
sooner  die  than  do  trade  in  them."  But  the  old  man 
answered  and  said :  "  Oh,  Ivanushka,  Ivanushka,  you 
have  had  little  experience  ;  and  I  tell  you  that  any  single 
one  of  these  bricks  is  worth  more  than  all  the  wares  of 
which  the  robbers  plundered  you  !  "  And  he  threw 
one  of  the  bricks  on  the  ground,  and  under  the  clay 
there  was  a  splendid  jewel. 


A  STORY  OF  SAINT  NICHOLAS          179 

So  Ivan  was  glad,  and  began  loading  the  ship  with  the 
bricks.  And  when  they  had  loaded  it  to  the  full,  the 
old  man  said  :  "  Now,  Ivanushka,  you  must  also  make 
some  plain  bricks  in  order  that  buccaneers  may  not  steal 
the  valuable  ones."  So  they  loaded  plain  bricks  as  well. 
But  on  their  way  the  wind  arose  and  they  sailed  farther, 
and  the  robbers  fell  on  them  again  and  began  to  search 
for  the  goods.  So  the  old  man  said  to  them :  "  Have 
mercy,  good  folk  !  Leave  us  alive  ;  for  robbers  some 
time  ago  took  away  all  we  had,  and  now  we  only  carry 
bricks,  such  bricks  as  we  made  on  the  island."  The 
pirates  looked  and  were  persuaded  and  sailed  farther  on, 
and  so  did  Ivan  and  the  old  man,  and  very  soon  arrived 
at  a  haven  and  stayed  there. 

In  that  kingdom  there  was  a  custom  that  all  merchants 
who  arrived  should  bring  some  of  all  their  wares  as  a 
homage  to  the  king.  So  the  old  man  said  to  Ivan : 
"  Ivanushka,  pray  to  the  Lord  God,  and  go  and  buy  a 
golden  vessel  and  a  fata,  and  to-morrow  go  and  make 
your  homage  to  the  king."  Ivan  obeyed  the  old  man, 
and  the  next  day  went  to  make  his  homage  to  the  king. 
They  told  the  king  that  a  merchant  had  come  to  do 
allegiance,  and  the  king  sat  on  his  throne  and  gave 
audience  to  Ivan. 

Ivan  came  up  to  the  king,  and  in  his  hands  there  was 
a  golden  vessel  covered  by  a/<zta',  and  in  the  golden  vessel 
there  was  a  brick.  So  the  king  asked  Ivan  from  what 
realm  he  came,  and  how  his  father  and  mother  were 
named.  And  then  he  uncovered  the  fata,  and  when  he 
saw  the  brick  he  was  very  wroth,  and  said :  "  I  suppose 
you  think  I  have  very  few  bricks,  and  you  have  come  to 
trade  in  them  in  my  kingdom  !  "  And  then  he  rushed 
at  Ivan.  But  Ivan  turned  aside  and  the  brick  fell  to  the 
ground  and  split  in  two. 

Then  the  king  saw  that  he  had  behaved  unseemly- 
wise,  and  began  to  ask  Ivan  for  forgiveness.  And  he 


i8o  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

forthwith  bought  the  entire  ship  off  Ivan.  And  when 
Ivan  saw  this,  he  said  :  "  You  may  take  all  my  goods,  but 
I  will  not  sell  my  vessel,  for  therein  do  I  have  an  old 
man  who  is  my  clerk,  and  we  should  not  be  able  to  live 
in  the  town."  "  Oh,"  said  the  king,  "  are  there  two  of 
you  ?  "  And  the  king,  on  hearing  this,  became  very 
angry,  and  said :  "  I  will  not  let  you  go,  but  I  must  have 
the  ship."  And  Ivan  went  down  on  his  knees  and  be- 
sought him  that  he  would  let  them  go.  Then  the  king 
said :  "  If  one  of  you  will  read  some  psalms  for  three 
nights  to  my  daughter  who  is  now  in  the  church,  you 
may  keep  the  ship."  For  his  daughter  was  a  witch,  and 
every  night  turned  into  a  human  being. 

Ivan  returned  to  his  ship,  and  he  was  sad  and  dis- 
heartened. He  did  not  wish  to  go  himself,  for  he  did 
not  wish  to  die  ;  and  if  he  dismissed  the  old  man,  it  was 
very  hard  to  part. 

The  old  man  said  to  Ivan :  "  Why,  Ivanushka,  why 
are  you  so  miserable  and  hang  your  head  ?  "  And  Ivan 
told  him  all  that  had  happened,  and  what  the  king  had 
said.  So  the  old  man  answered  him :  "  Never  mind, 
Ivanushka,  cheer  up  !  Pray  to  the  Saviour,  and  lie  down 
and  sleep,  and  I  will  think  out  some  means  of  getting 
out  of  the  danger." 

Soon  it  began  to  grow  dark,  and  the  old  man  roused 
Ivan  and  said :  "  Here  are  three  tapers.  As  long  as  the 
first  burns,  pray  to  God  ;  when  the  second  is  burnt  out, 
light  the  third,  and  then  enter  by  the  right-hand  side  of 
the  Holy  Gates  by  the  altar-screen  and  say  nothing  ;  only 
mutter  a  prayer  all  the  time.  Go,  and  God  bless  you." 

So  Ivan  landed,  and  the  king's  attendants  took  Ivan 
into  the  church  and  locked  it,  and  he  began  to  read  the 
Psalter.  One  candle  went  out  and  then  another,  and 
he  lighted  the  third,  and  lay  down  at  the  right-hand  side 
of  the  Holy  Gates.  Then  the  flooring  suddenly  jumped 
up,  and  the  witch  began  to  search  for  Ivan :  "  When 


A  STORY  OF  SAINT  NICHOLAS          181 

are  you  ?  I  want  to  eat  you."  And  she  looked,  and 
she  looked,  and  she  could  not  find  him,  and  then  the 
cock  crew,  and  she  went  once  more  into  the  grave. 
Then  Ivan  got  up,  covered  up  the  grave,  and  began  to 
read  once  more. 

In  the  morning  they  went  there  to  collect  his  bones ; 
but  there  Ivan  was,  as  large  as  life.  And  they  went  and 
told  the  king.  And  he  bade  him  for  the  second  time  go 
and  read  prayers. 

And  Ivan  went  to  the  old  man  and  told  him  what  had 
happened  in  the  church  by  night. 

Next  night  the  old  man  told  Ivan  to  lie  down  on  the 
left-hand  side  of  the  Holy  Gates.  And  once  more  the 
witch  could  not  find  him. 

On  the  third  night  the  old  man  gave  him  three  tapers 
and  a  ball  of  pitch  ;  and  the  pitch  was  rolled  round  with 
hair.  He  said :  "  To-night,  Ivanushka,  is  the  last  night. 
When  you  have  burned  out  the  last  taper,  lie  down  beside 
the  grave,  and  when  the  witch  rises  out  of  it,  go  and  lie 
in  the  grave  in  her  place,  and  do  not  let  her  in  until  she 
shall  read  out  the  prayers  '  Maiden  Mother  of  God, 
rejoice  !  '  and  '  Our  Father  Which  art  in  Heaven.''  ' 

Ivan  went  into  the  church  and  began  to  read  the 
Psalter,  and  after  lighting  the  third  candle,  lay  down  on 
the  right-hand  side  of  the  grave.  The  witch  broke  out 
of  the  coffin  and  passed  over  Ivan  and  began  to  look  for 
him  all  over  the  church.  When  the  time  came  for  her  to 
lie  down,  there  was  Ivan  in  her  place.  "  Ah  !  there  art 
thou  !  "  the  witch  cried.  "  For  thrice  twenty-four  hours 
I  have  been  hungry.  Come  out ;  I  want  to  eat  you." 
And  Ivan  threw  the  ball  covered  with  hair  at  her,  and 
she  nibbled  and  gnawed  at  it.  And  she  at  last  said  : 
"  Let  me  go  !  "  "  No,"  said  Ivan,  "  I  will  not  let  you 
go."  "  Let  me  go  !  "  the  witch  repeated.  "  Then  do 
you,"  said  Ivan,  "  recite  the  prayer  '  Maiden  Mother  of 
God,  rejoice !  J  after  me,  and  then  I  will  let  you  go." 


1 82  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

And  the  witch  read  out  the  prayer  and  then  said :  "  Let 
me  go  !  "  And  Ivan  said :  "  Now  read  the  Our  Father, 
then  I  will  let  you  go."  And  the  witch  read  it  out. 
Then  Ivan  came  out  and  said :  "  Lie  down."  But  the 
witch  said :  "  Now  I  cannot  lie  down."  Then  she  and 
Ivan  began  to  pray. 

In  the  morning  two  men  came  in,  and  they  not  only 
saw  Ivan,  but  also  Olyona,  the  king's  daughter — for  this 
was  the  witch's  name.  And  they  went  to  the  king,  and 
recounted  all  they  had  beheld. 

And  the  king  assembled  all  the  spiritual  hierarchy  and 
went  into  the  church.  And  he  thought  it  must  be  that 
Ivan  had  turned  into  a  wizard,  but  when  he  saw  how 
things  really  were,  he  embraced  Ivan  and  called  him  his 
son.  And  the  witch  said  to  Ivan :  "  Now,  Ivan,  the 
merchant's  son,  if  you  have  been  able  to  pray  to  God 
and  to  bring  me  to  life  again,  now  learn  how  to  master 
me,  and  I  will  never  depart  one  step  from  you." 

So  Ivan  went  to  the  ship,  and  he  told  the  old  man  all 
that  had  happened,  and  the  old  man  said :  "  Ivanushka, 
fear  nothing,  take  Olyona  Korolyevna1  as  your  wife, 
only  for  the  first  three  nights  do  not  go  to  sleep  until 
the  cock  has  crowed  three  times,  and  then  she  will  never 
more  oppress  you." 

There  was  no  loitering  at  the  king's  court ;  very  soon 
all  was  got  ready,  and  Ivan  was  affianced  to  Princess 
Olyona.  And  for  two  weeks  he  lived  quite  happily. 
Then  he  said  to  his  father-in-law :  "  Good  father,  let 
me  go  home  and  have  a  Mass  said  for  my  father  and 
mother,  and  once  more  see  my  home."  And  the  king 
said :  "  My  beloved  son,  Ivan,  the  merchant's  son,  I  will 
not  withstand  your  wish,  but  do  return  hither.  You 
see  yourself  I  am  no  longer  young,  and  I  have  no  heir. 
When  you  return  I  will  give  you  my  kingdom,  and  you 
will  live  happily  and  merrily." 

1  KoroV  king :  hence  princess. 


A  STORY  OF  SAINT  NICHOLAS          183 

So  they  set  out  on  their  journey,  and  arrived  at 
their  own  kingdom,  to  their  native  land.  And  Ivan 
took  Olyona  with  him.  When  they  arrived  at  the 
island  of  the  bricks,  they  loaded  all  the  vessels,  and 
there  were  many  ships,  and  they  excavated  the  entire 
island. 

One  day  the  old  man  began  to  cut  firewood,  took 
them  to  the  opposite  side  of  the  island  and  said :  "  Ivan- 
ushka,  my  well-doer,  I  must  now  speak  with  you."  And 
he  bade  them  come  where  the  firewood  was  stacked.  He 
lit  the  firewood  ;  and  when  it  was  in  flame  he  took 
Olyona,  threw  her  down,  trod  on  one  leg,  and  pulled  her 
apart  into  two  halves,  taking  hold  of  the  other  leg.  Ivan 
did  not  know  what  to  say  !  And  the  old  man  put  both 
halves  on  the  fire,  and  out  of  the  fire  there  then  crept 
snakes,  frogs,  and  all  sorts  of  reptiles.  Then  he  took 
the  two  parts  out  of  the  fire,  rinsed  them  thoroughly  in 
the  sea,  sprinkled  them  over  with  water,  made  the  sign 
of  the  cross,  and  Olyona  arose  such  a  beauty  as  no  tale 
can  tell  and  no  pen  can  write.  Then  he  said :  "  Now, 
my  well-doer,  Ivanushka,  you  are  to  be  a  mighty  king  ; 
Ivan,  the  merchant's  son,  you  are  now  rich  and  famous 
and  happy,  so  see  to  it  that  you  do  not  forget  God  and 
the  poor.  I  shall  see  you  no  more." 

Ivan  and  Olyona  knelt  down  and  began  to  beseech 
him,  but  the  old  man  said :  "  Beg  no  more  of  me,  but 
rather  thank  God  for  sending  me  to  you.  I  loved  you 
and  your  father,  Ivan,  and  you  even  more,  because  you 
kindly  gave  me  alms ;  and  now  you  are  rich  and  famous, 
do  not  forget  to  give  alms  to  the  poor."  Then  he 
vanished. 

Ivan  and  Olyona  praised  God,  went  back  to  the  ships, 
and  sailed  farther  on. 

When  the  poor  saw  that  Ivan  had  arrived  with  untold 
wealth,  they  crowded  to  the  shore  and  began  to  kiss 
Ivan's  hands,  his  feet,  and  the  hem  of  his  garment ; 


i $4  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

and  all  present  were  so  joyous  that  the  tears  flowed  from 
their  eyes. 

Ivan  put  up  crosses  on  his  parents'  grave,  clothed  the 
poor,  gave  them  his  house,  and  returned  to  his  father-in- 
law,  and  for  many  years  governed  his  kingdom.  And  he 
lived  so  long  that  he  saw  in  his  old  age  his  sons,  his 
grandsons,  and  his  great-grandsons.  And  he  ever 
prayed  and  blessed  God  and  Nicholas  the  Wonder- 
Worker  for  the  mercy  they  had  manifested  to  him. 

In  that  kingdom  where  he  was  king,  to  this  very  day 
King  Ivan  and  his  wife  Olyona  the  Fair  are  remembered.1 

1  I  have  taken  this  story  as  it  stands.  There  are  obvious  gaps  I  have 
not  ventured  to  fill  up. 


THE  POTTER 

ONCE  a  potter  was  journeying  on  his  road  with  his  goods 
and  dozed  off.  The  Tsar  Ivan  Vasilgevich  came  driving 
by  in  his  carriage  and  said,  "  Peace  be  to  you  !  " 

The  potter  looked  up  and  said,  "  I  thank  you  very 
much  and  wish  you  the  same." 

"  Have  you  been  asleep  ?  " 

"  Yes,  my  lord.  Do  not  fear  a  man  who  sings  songs  ; 
but  fear  a  man  who  slumbers  !  " 

"  You  are  a  bold  fellow,  potter :  I  have  seen  very 
few  such,  and  I  like  them.  Coachman,  slower  !  Potter, 
tell  me,  have  you  been  long  at  your  trade  ?  " 

"  Ever  since  my  youth,  and  I  am  now  middle-aged." 

"  Can  you  keep  your  children  with  it  ?  " 

"  Yes,  I  do  not  sow,  nor  plough,  nor  mow,  nor  reap, 
and  no  frosts  can  do  me  any  harm." 

"  Right,  potter  ;  but  there  are  still  misfortunes  left 
in  the  world." 

"  Yes,  I  know  three  of  them." 

"  What  are  the  three  ?  " 

"  The  first  is  an  evil  neighbour,  the  second  an  evil 
wife,  and  the  third  a  weak  understanding." 

"  Yet  now,  tell  me  which  is  the  worst  of  these  evils  ?  " 

"  The  evil  neighbour  can  be  escaped  ;  so  can  the  evil 
wife  if  one  has  children  enough,  but  the  weak  intellect 
can  never  be  got  rid  of." 

"  Yes,  that  is  true,  potter  ;  you  are  a  sensible  fellow. 
Listen  !  You  suit  me  and  I  suit  you.  When  there  are 
geese  flying  over  Russia,  will  you  pluck  a  feather  out  of 
them  or  let  them  fly  by  in  peace  ?  " 

185 


1 86  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  If  it  suit  me,  I  should  let  them  fly  by  as  they  shou 
otherwise  I  should  pluck  them  bald." 

"  Potter,  hold  in  your  horse  a  little  while  I  look  at 
your  stock." 

The  potter  stopped  and  displayed  his  goods. 

"  Can  you  make  any  such  for  me  ?  " 

"  How  many  ?  " 

"  Ten  cart-loads." 

"  How  long  will  you  require  ?  " 

"  One  month." 

"  In  a  fortnight  I  can  bring  them  into  the  town.  I 
suit  you  and  you  suit  me." 

"  Thank  you,  potter." 

"  Will  you  be  in  the  city  when  I  bring  the  goods  ?  " 

"  Yes,  I  shall  be  there  as  the  merchant's  guest." 

So  the  Tsar  drove  into  the  city  and  ordered  that  at  all 
his  feasts  the  plates  should  be  neither  of  silver  nor  of 
pewter,  nor  of  copper  nor  of  wood,  but  only  of  clay. 
The  potter  carried  out  the  Tsar's  orders  and  brought  his 
goods  into  the  city.  A  boydr  rode  up  to  the  potter 
and  said  to  him  :  "  God  be  with  you,  potter." 

"  Thank  you,  your  honour." 

"  Sell  me  all  your  goods." 

"  I  cannot ;   they  are  already  sold." 

"  What  does  that  matter  ?  Take  my  money  for  it ; 
you  will  be  doing  no  wrong,  as  long  as  you  have  received 
no  orders  for  the  work.  What  do  you  want  ?  " 

"  I  want  every  plate  filled  with  money." 

"  Listen,  potter — that  is  too  much." 

"  Very  well,  then :  one  filled  with  money  and  two 
empty.  Do  you  agree  ?  " 

So  they  agreed  at  that :   "  You  suit  me  and  I  suit  you." 

They  filled  up  the  plates  and  again  emptied  them, 
and  they  went  on  filling  plates  until  there  was  not  any 
money  left :  but  there  were  ever  so  many  plates  over. 
The  boydr  saw  he  was  getting  the  worst  of  the  bargain 


THE  POTTER  187 

and  sent  for  more  money  from  the  house.  So  they  piled 
the  plates  higher  still,  but  all  the  money  vanished,  and 
still  all  the  goods  had  not  been  used  up. 

"  What  is  to  be  done,  potter  ?   Why  are  you  so  greedy  ? " 

"  There  is  nothing  to  be  done." 

"  I  have  a  very  high  esteem  for  you,  potter,  but  do 
you  know  what  ?  " 

"  Do  you  carry  me  in  to  the  courtyard,  and  I  will 
give  you  the  goods  and  the  money  back  as  well." 

So  the  boydr  hesitated :  he  was  very  sorry  to  lose  his 
money  and  for  himself,  but  he  could  not  help  himself, 
and  so  they  agreed.  They  unharnessed  the  horse,  and 
the  peasant  sat  in  the  carriage  and  the  boydr  walked  on. 
The  potter  sang  a  song,  and  the  boydr  drew  it  along, 
drew  it  along.  "  How  far  must  I  take  you  in  front  of 
that  courtyard  ?  " 

The  potter  went  on  singing  joyously  and  said,  "  In 
front  of  the  house,  at  the  very  top  of  the  carriage." 

When  he  reached  the  palace  he  stood  up  erect  and 
sang,  joyously. 

The  Tsar  heard  him  singing  and  ran  to  the  flight  of  steps, 
and  recognised  the  potter.  "  Ha  !  welcome,  potter  !  " 

"  Thank  you,  your  honour." 

"  What  are  you  travelling  with  ?  " 

"  With  folly." 

"  Now,  you  fine  potter,  you  have  known  how  to  sell 
your  goods,  boydr,  take  off  your  gay  costume  and  your 
boots  ;  and  you,  potter,  take  off  your  kaftan  and  your 
bast  shoes.  Put  the  peasant's  smock  on,  boydr,  and  you, 
potter,  put  on  the  boydr9 s  robes.  You  have  sold  your 
goods  very  finely,  potter  ;  you  have  done  very  little,  and 
you  have  won  much.  But  as  for  you,  boydr,  you  were 
not  able  to  keep  your  rank.  Now,  potter,  were  there 
any  geese  flying  over  Russia  ?  Did  you  pluck  a  feather 
out  of  them,  or  did  you  leave  them  in  peace  ?  " 

"  No,  I  plucked  them  bald." 


THE  WITCH  AND  THE  SISTER  OF  THE  SUN 

IN  a  distant  country,  a  country  far  away,  once  there 
lived  a  Tsar  and  Tsaritsa,  who  had  a  son,  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
who  was  dumb  from  his  birth.  When  he  was  twelve 
years  old  he  went  to  the  stable  to  the  groom  whom  he 
loved,  who  always  told  him  stories.  But  this  time  he  was 
not  to  be  told  any. 

"  Ivan  Tsarevich,"  said  the  groom,  "  your  mother  will 
soon  have  a  daughter,  and  you  will  have  a  sister.  She 
will  be  a  dreadful  witch  and  will  eat  up  your  father  and 
your  mother  and  all  their  subjects.  Go  back  home  and 
ask  your  father  to  give  you  his  best  horse  ;  mount  that 
and  ride  away  and  follow  your  eyes  if  you  would  escape 
misfortune." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  ran  up  to  his  father  and  spoke  for  the 
first  time  in  his  life.  The  Tsar  was  so  glad  at  this  that  he 
never  asked  what  the  Tsarevich  wanted  the  horse  for,  but 
ordered  the  very  best  of  his  Tabun  to  be  saddled  for  him. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  mounted  the  horse  and  rode  away, 
following  his  eyes.  He  rode  far,  to  a  very  great  distance, 
and  he  came  to  two  old  seamstresses,  and  asked  them  if 
they  would  not  let  him  live  with  them. 

"  We  should  be  very  glad  to  accept  you,  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich," they  replied,  "  but  we  shall  not  live  much  longer. 
We  are  breaking  up  this  box  and  with  our  needles 
sewing  it  together  again,  and  as  soon  as  we  have  done 
that  Death  will  come  to  us." 

Then  Ivan  Tsarevich  wept  and  rode  on  farther.  And 
he  rode  on,  very  very  far,  and  came  to  Vertodub.  And 
he  begged  him,  "  Will  you  take  me  as  your  son  ?  " 

"  I  should  be  very  glad  to  take  you,"  Vertodub  replied, 

1 88 


WITCH  AND  THE  SISTER  OF  THE  SUN    189 

"  but,  as  soon  as  I  have  turned  round  all  these  oaks  with 
all  their  roots,  the  hour  will  have  come  for  me  to  die." 

Then  the  Tsarevich  wept  yet  more,  and  he  rode 
farther  on,  and  he  came  to  Vertogor,  and  he  made  him 
the  same  request. 

"  I  should  be  very  glad  to  take  you,  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
but  I  too  shall  not  live  much  longer,"  was  the  answer  he 
received.  "  You  see,  I  am  placed  here  in  order  to  turn 
these  mountains  round  ;  and  when  I  have  done  with  the 
last  of  them  then  I  must  die." 

Then  Ivan  Tsarevich  wept  bitter  tears,  and  he  rode 
yet  farther.  And  at  last  he  came  to  the  Sister  of  the 
Sun.  She  gave  him  meat  and  drink  and  adopted  him  as 
a  son.  The  Tsarevich  had  a  fine  time  there.  But  still 
he  was  always  dissatisfied,  because  he  did  not  know  what 
was  going  on  at  home.  And  so  he  clomb  a.  lofty  moun- 
tain, looked  out  to  his  own  house,  and  saw  that  every- 
thing there  had  been  eaten  up,  and  only  the  walls  were 
standing.  Then  he  sighed  and  wept. 

And  when  he  came  down  from  the  mountain,  the 
Sister  of  the  Sun  met  him  and  asked,  "  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
why  hast  thou  wept  ?  " 

"  It  was  the  wind  which  was  blowing  something  in 
my  eye  !  "  And  once  again  he  began  to  weep. 

And  he  went  a  second  time  into  the  mountain,  and 
saw  that  only  the  walls  of  his  house  remained  standing — 
everything  had  been  eaten  up.  And  he  wept  and  re- 
turned home. 

Again  the  Sister  of  the  Sun  met  him :  "  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich, why  hast  thou  wept  ?  " 

"  It  was  the  wind  which  was  blowing  something  in 
my  eye  !  "  And  the  Sun  was  angry,  and  forbade  the 
wind  to  blow. 

And  he  mounted  the  hill  a  third  time,  and  this  time 
he  was  forced  to  say  why  he  was  sad,  and  beg  the  Sister 
of  the  Sun  for  leave  to  go  home  to  see  what  had  been 


190  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

happening,  like  a  doughty  youth.  So  she  gave  him  a 
brush  and  comb  and  two  apples  to  take  with  him.  And, 
however  old  a  man  might  be,  if  he  only  ate  one  apple,  he 
would  be  young  once  more. 

Ivan  ran  away,  and  he  found  Vertogor,  who  had  only 
one  mountain  left.  So  Ivan  Tsarevich  took  his  brush, 
and  threw  it  into  the  open  field.  And  suddenly  moun- 
tains grew  up  everywhere,  and  their  summits  and  peaks 
pierced  into  the  skies,  and  there  were  so  .many  of  them 
that  no  man  could  count  them.  Vertogor  was  then  very 
happy  and  set  about  work  gaily. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  met  Vertodub  once  more,  and  there 
were  only  three  oaks  left.  So  he  threw  the  comb  into  the 
field,  and  then  there  rustled  out  of  the  earth  a  thick  oak 
forest,  every  tree  thicker  than  the  other.  And  Vertodub 
was  then  very  joyous  and  set  to  work  gaily. 

And  at  last,  after  a  journey  long  or  short,  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich reached  the  old  women,  and  he  gave  each  of  them 
an  apple.  They  ate  them,  and  they  once  more  became 
young,  and  gave  him  a  little  handkerchief,  which  he  need 
only  shake,  and  a  big  lake  would  appear. 

When  Ivan  Tsarevich  came  home,  his  sister  ran  to 
him  and  caressed  him.  "  Sit  down,  brother  mine  ;  play 
on  the  harp  whilst  I  go  and  prepare  dinner." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  sat  down  and  began  to  finger  the  strings 
when  a  mouselet  crept  out  of  the  corner  and  spoke  with 
a  human  voice  :  "  Run  away,  Tsarevich,  as  fast  as  you 
can.  Your  sister  is  now  whetting  her  teeth." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  then  left  the  room,  sat  on  his  horse, 
and  went  all  the  way  back  to  the  Sun.  The  mouselet 
ran  up  and  down  on  the  strings  of  the  harp,  and  the 
sister  never  noticed  that  the  brother  had  gone  away. 
When  she  had  sharpened  her  teeth,  she  ran  into  the  room, 
but  there  was  not  a  single  soul  to  be  seen  there,  even  the 
mouselet  had  crept  back  into  its  hole.  And  the  witch 
became  furious,  gnashed  her  teeth  and  made  ready  to 


WITCH  AND  THE  SISTER  OF  THE  SUN     191 

pursue  Ivan  Tsarevich.  Ivan  Tsarevich  heard  a  noise 
behind  him,  looked,  and  saw  his  sister  had  almost  caught 
him  up,  so  he  waved  his  handkerchief,  and  a  deep  lake 
rose  behind  him.  Whilst  the  witch  was  swimming 
through  the  lake  Ivan  Tsarevich  flew  a  vast  way,  and  she 
was  swifter  than  he,  and  again  came  near. 

Vertodub  guessed  Ivan  was  fleeing  from  his  sister,  and 
piled  oaks  on  the  way,  whirled  a  vast  mass  of  them  in 
her  path  and  she  could  not  get  through  ;  she  had  at 
first  to  clear  the  road.  So  she  gnawed  and  gnawed  away, 
and  at  last  made  herself  a  path.  But  Ivan  Tsarevich  in 
the  meantime  had  gained  ground.  So  she  followed  him 
farther,  and  she  had  almost  caught  him  up. 

When  Vertogor  saw  what  was  happening,  he  seized 
hold  of  the  highest  mountain,  piled  it  up  on  the  road 
and  stuck  another  on  top  of  it.  And  the  witch  was  very 
furious,  and  began  climbing  up,  and  in  the  meantime 
Ivan  Tsarevich  got  far  and  far  away.  But  the  witch 
soon  got  up  and  cried  out :  "  This  time  you  shall  not 
escape  me." 

He  had  got  into  the  palace  of  the  Sister  of  the  Sun, 
and  cried  out,  "  Sun,  Sun  !  open  your  big  windows." 
The  Sun  opened  his  window  and  Ivan  Tsarevich  leaped 
in  on  his  horse. 

The  witch  asked  him  to  give  her  her  brother,  but  the 
Sun  would  not.  Then  the  witch  said,  "  Ivan  Tsarevich 
must  put  himself  on  one  balance  and  I  will  put  myself 
on  the  other,  and  if  I  am  the  heavier  I  will  eat  him  up  ; 
and,  if  he  is  the  heavier  he  shall  lay  me  low." 

So  they  went  and  set  up  the  scales.  First  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich sat  down  on  it,  then  the  witch  on  the  other  side  ; 
but  as  soon  as  ever  she  had  put  her  foot  into  it  the 
Tsarevich  was  hurled  with  such  force  into  the  house, 
that  he  flew  right  into  the  very  bosom  of  the  sky,  into 
the  chambers  of  the  Sun,  whilst  the  witch  remained  on 
the  earth. 


MARYA   MORYEVNA 

f  IN  a  certain  kingdom,  in  a  certain  state,  there  once  lived 
Ivan  Tsarevich,  who  had  three  sisters :  one  was  called 
Marya  Tsarevna,  the  second  Olga  Tsarevna,  and  the 
third  Anna  Tsarevna^  'Their  mother  and  father  had 
died  :^jfwhen  they  were  dying  they  bade  the  son,  "  Who- 
ever come  first  as  a  suitor  for  your  sisters'  hands,  let 
them  take  them  ;  do  not  keep  them  long  with  you^i 
The  Tsarevich  buried  his  parents  ;  and,  in  his  grief, 
went  with  his  sisters  to  walk  in  a  green  garden.  Then  a 
dark  cloud  appeared  in  the  sky,  and  a  fearful  clap  of 
thunder  was  heard.  "  Let  us  go  home,  sisters,"  said 
Ivan  Tsarevich. 

Soon  they  reached  the  palace :  the  thunder  rattled 
and  the  ceiling  fell  down,  and  the  ceiling  divided  into 
two.  And  a  clear-eyed  Hawk  came  into  the  room, 
struck  the  ground,  and  turned  himself  into  a  fair, 
doughty  youth :  "  Hail,  Ivan  Tsarevich !  before,  I 
came  to  you  as  a  guest,  now  I  am  coming  to  ask  for  your 
sister's  hand  :  I  wish  to  marry  Marya  Tsarevna." 

"  If  you  wish  my  sister,  I  will  not  say  you  nay :  take 
her  with  God's  blessing." 

Marya  Tsarevna  agreed,  and  the  Hawk  married  her 
and  took  her  away  to  his  own  kingdom. 

Then  day  followed  day  and  hour  followed  hour.  One 
whole  year  went  by  unheeded.  Ivan  Tsarevich  stayed 
with  his  sisters  in  the  green  garden.  Then  there  came 
a  cloud  and  there  was  thunder  and  lightning.  "  Let  us  go 
home,  sisters,"  said  the  Tsarevich. 

When  they  came  to  the  palace  there  was  a  thunder- 

192 


MARYA   MORYEVNA  193 

clap,  and  the  roof  fell  in  and  the  ceiling  was  cleft  in  two, 
and  an  Eagle  flew  in,  struck  the  ground  and  turned  him- 
self into  a  doughty  youth,  and  said,  "  Hail,  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich  !  formerly  I  came  to  you  as  a  guest,  now  I  come  to 
you  as  a  suitor."  And  he  asked  for  the  hand  of  Olga. 

And  Ivan  Tsarevich  answered,  "  If  Olga  Tsarevna 
pleases  you,  she  may  go  to  you — I  will  not  withstand 
your  will." 

Olga  Tsarevna  was  willing,  and  married  the  Eagle : 
the  Eagle  laid  hold  of  her  and  took  her  to  his  own 
kingdom. 

One  year  further  went  by,  and  Ivan  Tsarevich  said  to 
his  youngest  sister,  "  Let  us  go  and  have  a  walk  in  the 
green  garden,"  and  they  went  for  a  little  walk.  And  a 
cloud  came  over  the  sky  with  thunder  and  lightning. 
"  Let  us  turn  back,  sister,  home  !  " 

So  they  turned  back  home,  and  they  had  hardly  sat 
down  when  the  thunder  clapped  and  the  ceiling  was 
divided  into  two,  and  a  Crow  flew  in.  And  the  Crow 
struck  the  ground  and  turned  himself  into  a  doughty 
youth.  The  former  suitors  were  fair  enough  in  them- 
selves, but  he  was  fairer  still.  "  Formerly  I  came  to  you 
as  a  guest,  but  now  I  come  to  you  as  a  suitor :  give  me 
your  sister  AnnaJ" 

"  I  will  not  withstand  my  sister's  will ;  if  you  are  in 
love  with  her  she  may  have  you." 

And  Anna  Tsarevna  went  with  the  Crow,  and  he  took 
her  to  his  own  kingdom. 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  was  there  alone,  and  for  one  whole 
year  he  lived  there  without  any  sisters,  and  began  to  feel 
melancholy.  "  I  will  go,"  he  said,  "  and  seek  my  sisters." 
So  he  started  out  on  the  road.  He  went  on  and  on  jnd 
on.  And  there  lay  on  the  field  an  army  of  a  great  nost 
conquered.  And  Ivan  asked  them :  "  If  there  be  any 
man  alive  here,  let  him  call !  Who  slew  this  mighty 
host  ?  " 


194  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

And  one  man  who  was  still  alive  replied :  "  All  this 
mighty  host  was  conquered  by  Marya  Moryevna,  the 
fair  princess." 

And  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  on  yet  further,  and  he  came 
upon  white  tents,  and  Marya  Moryevna  came  to  meet 
him,  the  fair  queen. 

"  Hail,"  she  said,  "  Tsarevich  !  where  is  God  taking 
you  ?  Is  it  at  your  will  or  perforce  ?  " 

And  Ivan  Tsarevich  answered  her  :  "  Doughty  youths 
do  not  go  perforce." 

"  Well,  if  you  have  no  quest  to  accomplish,  come  and 
stay  in  my  tents." 

And  Ivan  Tsarevich  was  glad  of  this,  and  he  stayed 
two  nights  in  the  tents,  fell  in  love  with  Marya  Moryevna, 
and  married  her. 

Marya  Moryevna  took  him  with  her  to  her  own 
kingdom,  and  they  lived  together  for  some  time ;  and 
they  thought  of  making  ready  for  war ;  and  so  she 
handed  all  of  her  possessions  over  to  Ivan,  and  said : 
"  Go  everywhere,  look  at  everything,  only  into  this 
lumber-room  you  must  not  look." 

But  he  was  impatient :  as  soon  as  Marya  Moryevna's 
back  was  turned,  he  at  once  opened  the  lumber-room, 
opened  the  door  and  looked  in,  and  there  Koshchey  the 
Deathless  was  hanging. 

Koshchey  asked  Ivan  Tsarevich,  "  Have  pity  on  me : 
give  me  something  to  eat.  I  have  been  tortured  here 
for  ten  years.  I  have  eaten  nothing,  I  have  drunken 
nothing,  and  my  throat  is  all  dried  up."  Ivan  Tsarevich 
gave  him  a  whole  gallon  of  water  :  he  drank  it  at  a  single 
gulp,  and  he  still  asked,  "  I  am  still  thirsty :  give  me  a 
gallon,"  and  Ivan  gave  him  a  second  gallon,  and  yet  a 
third.  And  when  he  had  drunk  the  third,  he  recovered 
all  his  former  strength,  broke  all  his  chains,  shattered 
them  all,  all  the  twelve  chains.  "  Thank  you,  Ivan 
Tsarevich,"  Koshchey  the  Deathless  said.  "  Now  you 


MARYA   MORYEVNA  195 

will  never  again  see  Marya  Moryevna  any  more  !  "  and 
with  a  fearful  flash  of  lightning  he  flew  into  the  country, 
gathered  up  Marya  Moryevna  on  the  road,  the  fair 
Queen,  snatched  her  up  and  took  her  to  himself. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  wept  bitterly,  got  ready  and  started 
on  his  road :  "  Come  what  may,  I  will  seek  out  Marya 
Moryevna."  And  he  went  one  day,  and  he  went  another 
day,  and  on  the  dawning  of  the  third  day  he  saw  a  won- 
derful palace,  and  in  front  of  the  palace  there  was  an 
oak,  and  on  the  oak  there  sat  a  clear-eyed  hawk. 

And  the  Hawk  flew  down  from  the  oak,  struck  the 
ground,  turned  into  a  doughty  youth,  and  cried  out, 

O  my  beloved  brother :  how  is  the  Lord  dealing  with 
you  ?  " 

And  Marya  Tsarevna  came  out,  went  to  meet  Ivan 
Tsarevich,  asked  him  how  he  was,  and  began  to  tell  him 
all  her  own  story. 

So  the  Tsarevich  abode  as  their  guest  for  three^days, 
and  then  said,  "  I  cannot  stay  with  you  any  longer :  I 
am  going  to  seek  my  wife  Marya  Moryevna  the  fair 
Queen." 

"  This  will  be  a  hard  search  for  you,"  answered  the 
Hawk.  "  At  least  leave  a  silver  spoon  here  ;  we  can  gaze 
on  it  and  think  of  you." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  left  his  silver  jspoon  with  them,  and 
set  out  on  his  road. 

So  he  went  on  one  day  and  a  second  day,  and  at  the 
dawning  of  the_thirdjday  he  saw  a  palace  fairer  than  the 
first,  and  in  front  of  the  palace  there  was  an  oak,  and  an 
eagle  sat  on  the  oak  :  the  Eagle  flew  down  from  the  tree, 
struck  the  earth,  turned  into  a  doughty  youth  and  cried  : 
"  Rise,  Olga  Tsarevna,  our  dear  brother  has  arrived." 

Olga  Tsarevna  at  once  came  to  meet  him,  began  kissing 
and  welcoming  him,  asking  how  he  was,  and  they  told 
of  all  they  had  lived  and  done. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  stayed  with  them  three  little  days, 


196  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

and  then  said,  "  I  can  no  longer  be  your  guest :    I  am 
going  seeking  my  wife,  Marya  Moryevna  the  fair  Prin- 


cess." 


And  the  Eagle  answered :  "  It  will  be  an  evil  quest. 
Leave  us  your  silver  Jforkj  we  will  look  at  it  and  think 
of  you." 

So  he  left  his  silver  fork,  and  he  went  on  the  road. 

And  a  day  went  by  and  a  second,  and  at  the  dawn  of 
the  third_day  he  saw  a  palace  fairer  than  the  first  two. 
And  in  front  of  the  palace  there  was  an  oak,  and  on  the 
oak  there  perched  a  crow.  And  the  Crow  flew  down 
from  the  oak,  struck  the  earth,  turned  into  a  doughty 
youth,  and  cried  out,  "Anna  Tsarevna,  come  out  as 
fast  as  you  can  :  our  brother  has  arrived." 

Then  Anna  Tsarevna  came  out,  met  him  joyously, 
began  to  kiss  and  to  welcome  him,  asking  him  how  he  was. 
And  they  spoke  of  all  they  had  lived  and  done. 

After  three  days  Ivan  Tsarevich  said,  "  I  can  stay  no 
longer  with  you ;  I  am  going  to  seek  my  wife,  Marya 
Moryevna,  the  fair  Queen." 

"  This  will  be  a  hard  search  for  you,"  the  Crow  said. 
"  At  least  leave  us  your  silver  sjmffrhox ;  we  can  gaze 
on  it  and  think  of  you." 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  left  them  his  silver  snuff-box,  and 
set  out  on  his  road. 

Then  a  day  went  and  another  day,  and  on  the  third 
day  he  at  last  reached  Marya  Moryevna.  When  she  saw 
her  beloved  through  the  window,  she  rushed  out  to  him, 
flung  herself  at  his  neck,  wept,  and  said,  "  Oh  !  Ivan 
Tsarevich,  why  did  you  not  obey  me  ?  Why  did  you 
look  into  the  lumber-room  and  let  Koshchey  the  Death- 
less out  ?  " 

"  Forgive  me,  Marya  Moryevna ;  let  bygones  be 
bygones :  come  away  with  me  now,  whilst  Koshchey 
the  Deathless  is  away :  possibly  he  may  not  catch  us  up." 

So  they  went  away. 


MARYA  MORYEVNA  197 

Now  Koshchey  was  out  hunting.  Towards  evening 
he  returned  home,  and  his  horse  stumbled.  "  Why,  you 
sorry  jade,  are  you  stumbling,  or  is  it  some  evil  that  you 
fear  ?  " 

And  the  hgise  jusmired :  "  Ivan  Tsarevich  has  arrived, 
and  has  taken  away  Marya  Moryevna."  . 

"  Can  one  catch  them  up  ?  " 

Iu  You  can  sow  wheat,  wait  until  it  grows  up,  harvest 
it,  thresh  it,  turn  it  into  flour,  make  five  stones  of  bread, 
eat  the  bread,  and  then  set  out  on  the  hunt,  and  we 
shall  succeed." 

Koshchey  leapt  on  the  horse,  caught  up  Ivan  Tsarevich. 
"  Now,"  he  said,  "  for  the  first  time  I  will  let  you  go  for 
your  doughtyhood,  as  you  fed  me  with  water ;  for  the 
second  time  I  will  let  you  go ;  for  the  third  time,  take 
care :  I  will  tear  you  to  morsels."  And  he  took  Marya 
Moryevna  from  him,  took  her  away,  and  Ivan  Tsarevich 
sat  on  the  stone  and  cried. 

And  he  cried  and  he  cried,  and  again  came  back  to 
Marya  Moryevna.  Koshchey  the  Deathless  was  not  at 
home  :  "  Let  us  start,  Marya  Moryevna." 

"  Oh,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  he  will  catch  us  up." 

"  Well,  let  him  ;  still  we  shall  have  one  or  two  hours 
together." 

So  they  started,  and  off  they  went. 

Koshchey  the  Deathless  came  back  home,  and  his  good 
horse  stumbled  under  him.  "  Why,  you  sorry  jade, 
are  you  stumbling,  or  is  it  some  evil  thing  which  you 
fear  ?  " 

And  the  horse  answered,  "  Ivan  Tsarevich  has  again 
arrived,  and  has  taken  Marya  Moryevna  away." 

"  Can  one  catch  them  up  ?  " 

"  It  would  be  possible  to  sow  barley  and  to  wait  until 
it  grows  up,  reap  it,  thresh  it,  to  brew  beer,  drink  it 
until  you  were  drunk,  sleep  out  your  sleep  and  then 
to  go  on  the  hunt,  and  we  should  still  succeed." 


198  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Koshchey  leaped  on  his  horse,  caught  up  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich,  and  said,  "  I  said  you  were  not  to  see  anything 
more  of  Marya  Moryevna  !  "  and  he  took  her  away  with 
him. 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  was  again  left  alone,  and  he  wept 
bitterly  ;  and  once  again  he  returned  to  Marya  Mor- 
yevna, and  this  time  too  Koshchey  was  not  at  home. 
"  Let  us  go,  Marya  Moryevna  !  " 

"  Oh,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  he  will  catch  us  up  and  he  will 
tear  you  to  bits." 

"  Let  him  tear  me  to  bits ;  I  cannot  live  without  you." 

So  they  got  ready,  and  off  they  went. 

Koshchey  the  Deathless  returned  home,  and  under 
him  his  good  horse  stumbled.  "  Why  do  you  stumble, 
you  sorry  jade,  or  is  it  some  evil  that  you  fear  ?  " 

"  Ivan  Tsarevich  has  arrived,  and  has  taken  Marya 
Moryevna  with  him." 

Koshchey  leaped  on  his  horse,  caught  up  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich, broke  him  up  into  tiny  bits,  put  them  into  a  tar 
cask,  took  this  cask,  locked  it  with  iron  bolts  and  threw 
it  into  the  blue  sea.  And  he  took  Marya  Moryevna  away 
with  him. 

At  the  same  time  the  brothers-in-law  of  Ivan  Tsare- 
vich looked  at  their  silver  ornaments  and  found  they 
had  turned  black.  "  Oh,"  they  said,  "  evidently  some 
disaster  has  befallen  him  !  "  The  Eagle  rushed  into  the 
blue  sea,  dragged  out  the  cask  to  the  shore,  and  the  Hawk 
flew  for  the  Water  of  Life,  and  the  Crow  flew  for  the 
Water  of  Death.  Then  they  all  three  met  at  a  single 
spot  and  broke  up  the  cask,  took  out  the  bits  of  Ivan 
Tsarevich,  washed  them,  laid  them  together  as  was  fit : 
then  the  Crow  sprinkled  him  with  the  Water  of  Death, 
and  the  body  grew  together  and  was  one  ;  and  the  Hawk 
sprinkled  him  with  the  Water  of  Life,  and  Ivan  Tsarevich 
shivered,  sat  up  and  said,  "  Oh,  what  a  long  sleep  I  have 
had  !  " 


MARYA   MORYEVNA 


199 


"  But  your  sleep  would  have  been  very  much  longer 
if  we  had  not  been  there,"  answered  the  brothers-in-law. 
"  Now  you  must  come  and  be  our  guest !  " 

"  No,  brothers,  I  must  go  and  seek  Marya  Moryevna." 

So  he  came  to  her  and  said,  "  Go  and  find  out  from 
Koshchey  the  Deathless  where  he  got  such  a  fine  horse  !  " 

Then  Marya  Moryevna  looked  out  for  a  good  oppor- 
tunity, and  asked  Koshchey  the  Deathless. 

Koshchey  answered,  "  Beyond  thrice-nine  lands,  in 
the  thrice-tenth  kingdom,  beyond  the  river  of  fire,  lives 
the  Baba  Yaga.  She  has  a  mare  on  which  every  day  she 
rides  round  the  whole  of  the  world.  She  has  many 
splendid  mares.  I  was  there  for  three  days  as  a  herd, 
and  she  would  not  let  me  have  the  mare  ;  but  she  gave 
me  one  of  the  foals." 

"  How  can  one  cross  the  river  of  fire  ?  " 

"  I  have  a  kerchief :  if  you  shake  it  to  the  right  three 
times  a  lofty  bridge  rises  and  the  fires  cannot  overreach 
it." 

Marya  Moryevna  listened,  told  Ivan  Tsarevich  all 
about  it,  and  he  took  the  cloth  away.  Ivan  Tsarevich 
crossed  the  river  of  fire  and  he  reached  the  Baba  Yaga : 
but  journeying  afar,  neither  eating  nor  drinking.  A 
sea-bird  came  to  meet  him  with  her  young.  Ivan 
Tsarevich  asked  if  he  might  eat  one  of  her  chicks. 

"  Do  not  eat  it,"  the  sea-bird  said  ;  "  at  some  time 
I  shall  be  of  service  to  you,  Ivan  Tsarevich." 

Then  he  went  farther,  and  he  was  in  a  wood,  and  he 
saw  a  bee-hive.  "  Perhaps,"  he  said,  "  I  may  take  a 
little  honey." 

Then  the  queen-bee  answered  him,  "  Do  not  touch 
my  honey,  Ivan  Tsarevich;  at  some  time  or  other  I 
shall  be  of  service  to  you." 

So  he  did  not  touch  the  honey,  but  went  farther. 
Then  he  met  a  lioness  with  her  whelps.  "  May  I  eat 
this  lion-whelp  ?  I  am  so  hungry  ?  " 


200  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Do  not  touch  it,  Ivan  Tsarevich,"  the  lioness  said  ; 
"  at  some  time  or  other  I  shall  be  of  service  to  you." 

"  Very  well ;   it  shall  be  as  you  will." 

So  he  went  on  hungry,  and  he  went  on  and  on  and  on, 
and  at  last  he  reached  the  house  of  the  Baba  Yaga. 
Round  the  house  there  were  twelve  poles,  and  on  eleven 
of  the  poles  there  were  the  skulls  of  men :  only  one  as 
yet  was  untenanted. 

"  Hail,  babushka  !  "  he  said. 

"  Hail,  Ivan  Tsarevich  !  "  she  replied  :  "  what  have 
you  come  for  ?  By  your  own  good  will  or  for  need  ?  " 

"  I  have  come  to  earn  of  you  a  knightly  horse." 

"  Very  well,  Ivan  Tsarevich  :  you  are  to  serve  me  not 
one  year,  but  only  three  days.  If  you  can  guard  my 
mares,  I  will  give  you  a  knightly  horse ;  if  you  cannot, 
do  not  be  angry,  but  your  head  must  also  lie  on  the  last 
of  the  stakes." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  agreed,  and  Baba  Yaga  gave  him  drink 
and  food  and  bade  him  set  to  work.  As  soon  as  ever  he 
had  driven  the  mares  into  the  field,  they  all  turned  their 
tails  and  ran  in  the  meadows  so  far  that  the  Tsarevich 
could  not  trace  them  with  his  eyes :  and  thus  they  were 
all  lost.  Then  he  sat  down  and  wept,  and  became 
melancholy,  and  sat  down  on  a  stone  and  went  to  sleep. 

The  sun  was  already  setting  when  the  sea-bird  flew  to 
him,  woke  him  up  and  said,  "  Arise,  Ivan  Tsarevich — 
all  the  mares  have  gone  home." 

The  Tsarevich  got  up,  turned  back  home  ;  but  Baba 
Yaga  was  angry  with  her  mares.  "  Why  have  you  all 
come  home  ?  " 

"  Why  should  we  not  come  home  ?  the  birds  flew 
down  from  every  quarter  of  the  sky  and  almost  clawed 
out  our  eyes." 

"  Well,  to-morrow  do  not  stray  in  the  meadows,  but 
scatter  into  the  dreamy  forest." 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  passed  that  night ;    and  next  day 


MARYA   MORYEVNA  201 

Baba  Yaga  said  to  him,  "  Look,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  if  you 
do  not  keep  the  mares  well,  if  you  lose  one,  then  your 
false  head  shall  nod  up  and  down  on  the  stake." 

So  then  he  drove  all  the  mares  to  the  field,  and  this 
time  they  turned  their  tails,  and  they  ran  into  the 
dreamy  woods.  And  once  again  the  Tsarevich  sat  on 
the  stone  and  wept  and  wept  and  went  to  sleep,  and  the 
sun  began  to  rest  on  the  woods  when  the  lioness  ran  up 
and  said,  "  Get  up,  Ivan  Tsarevich — all  the  mares  have 
been  collected."  Then  Ivan  Tsarevich  got  up  and  went 
home. 

And  Baba  Yaga  was  angry  that  the  mares  had  come 
home,  and  she  called  out  to  her  mares,  "  Why  have  you 
all  come  home  ?  " 

And  they  answered,  "  How  should  we  not  come  home  ? 
— wild  feasts  from  all  the  four  quarters  of  the  world 
assembled  round  us  and  almost  tore  us  to  bits." 

"  Well,  you  go  to-morrow  into  the  blue  sea." 

Once  again  Ivan  passed  the  night  there,  and  the  next 
day  Baba  Yaga  sent  her  mares  to  feed.  "  If  you  do  not 
guard  them,  then  your  bold  head  shall  hang  on  the  pole." 

He  drove  the  mares  into  the  field,  and  they  at  once 
turned  tail  and  vanished  from  his  eyes  and  ran  into  the 
blue  sea  and  stood  up  to  their  necks  in  the  water.  So 
Ivan  Tsarevich  sat  on  the  stone,  wept  and  went  to  sleep. 
And  the  sun  was  already  setting  on  the  woods  when  the 
bee  flew  up  to  him  and  said  :  "  Get  up,  Ivan  Tsarevich — 
all  the  mares  have  been  gathered  together.  But,  when 
you  return  home,  do  not  appear  before  Baba  Yaga ;  go 
into  the  stable  and  hide  behind  the  crib.  There  there  is 
a  mangy  foal  who  will  be  rolling  in  the  dung :  steal  him ; 
and,  at  the  deep  of  midnight,  leave  the  house." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  got  up,  went  into  the  stable,  and  lay 
behind  the  crib. 

Baba  Yaga  made  a  tremendous  stir  and  cried  out  to 
her  mares :  "  Why  did  you  come  back  ?  " 


202  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  How  should  we  not  come  back  ? — all  the  bees  from 
every  part  of  the  world,  visible  and  invisible,  flew  round 
us,  and  they  stung  us  till  our  blood  flowed." 

Baba  Yaga  went  to  sleep  ;  and  that  same  night  Ivan 
Tsarevich  stole  the  mangy  steed  from  its  stall,  mounted 
it  and  flew  to  the  fiery  river.  He  reached  that  river, 
waved  the  cloth  three  times  to  the  right ;  and,  at  once, 
from  some  strange  source,  a  lofty,  splendid  bridge  hung 
all  the  way  over.  The  T&arevich  crossed  the  bridge, 
waved  the  cloth  to  the  left  twice,  and  all  that  was  left 
of  the  bridge  was  a  thin  thread. 

In  the  morning  Baba  Yaga  woke  up  and  she  could  not 
see  the  mangy  foal,  so  she  hunted  to  the  chase :  with  all 
her  strength  she  leapt  into  her  iron  mortar  and  she  chased 
after  with  the  pestle,  and  very  soon  she  was  on  their 
track.  When  she  came  to  the  river  of  fire,  she  looked 
across  and  thought,  "  Ah  ha  ha  !  a  fine  bridge  !  "  Then 
she  went  on  to  the  bridge ;  but  as  soon  as  she  got  on 
to  the  bridge  it  snapped,  and  Baba  Yaga  slipped  into  the 
river,  and  it  was  a  savage  death  she  had. I 

Ivan  Tsarevich  fed  his  foal  on  the  green,  and  a  splendid 
horse  grew  out  of  him  ;  then  the  Tsarevich  arrived  at 
the  palace  of  Marya  Moryevna.  She  rushed  out,  fell 
upon  his  neck  and  said,  "  How  has  God  blessed  you  ?  " 
And  he  told  her  how  it  had  gone  with  him.  "  I  am 
frightened,  Ivan  Tsarevich ;  if  Koshchey  catches  us  up 
you  will  again  be  torn  to  atoms." 

"  No,  he  will  not  catch  us  up  now ;  I  have  a  fine 
knightly  horse  which  flies  like  a  bird."  So  they  sat  on 
the  horse  and  went. 

Koshchey  the  Deathless  came  back  home,  and  his 
horse  stumbled.  "  Oh,  you  sorry  jade,  why  do  you 
stumble,  or  is  it  that  you  fear  some  evil  ?  " 

"  Ivan  Tsarevich  has  arrived,  and  has  taken  away 
Marya  Moryevna." 

"  Can  one  catch  them  up  ?  " 


MARYA  MORYfiVNA  203 

"  God  knows ;  now  Ivan  Tsarevich  has  a  knightly 
horse  better  than  me." 

"  No,  I  will  not  stand  it,"  Koshchey  the  Deathless 
said.  "  We  will  up  and  after  him  !  " 

And,  sooner  or  later,  so  soon  he  caught  up  Ivan 
Tsarevich,  and  he  leapt  to  him  and  was  going  to  cleave 
him  with  his  curved  sabre  ;  but  then  the  steed  of  Ivan 
Tsarevich  kicked  Koshchey  the  Deathless  with  all  his 
might,  and  clove  in  his  head,  and  the  Tsarevich  struck 
him  down  with  his  club.  Then  the  Tsarevich  gathered 
together  a  mass  of  timber,  set  fire  to  it,  burnt  Koshchey 
the  Deathless  on  the  pile  and  scattered  the  dust  to  the 
winds. 

Marya  Moryevna  then  sat  on  Koshchey's  steed,  and 
Ivan  Tsarevich  on  his  own,  and  the  two  went  and  stayed 
as  guests,  first  of  all  with  the  Crow,  then  with  the  Eagle, 
and  lastly  with  the  Hawk.  Wherever  they  went  they 
were  joyously  received.  "  Oh  !  Ivan  Tsarevich,  I  am 
so  glad  to  see  you  !  We  never  expected  to  see  you  back. 
And  your  work  has  not  been  in  vain  ;  such  a  beauty  as 
Marya  Moryevna  might  be  sought  for  all  over  the  world 
and  you  would  not  have  found  any  other." 

So  they  were  as  guests  and  junketed  well,  and  arrived 
into  their  own  kingdom,  reached  it  and  began  to  live  a 
life  of  joy  enduring  and  to  drink  good  mead. 


THE   REALM   OF   STONE 

IN  a  certain  kingdom,  in  a  certain  state,  once  then 
lived  a  soldier  who  had  served  long  and  faithfully  and 
knew  all  about  the  Tsar's  service,  the  reviews,  and 
always  came  up  to  parade  looking  clean  and  smart. 
The  last  year  of  his  service  came  along,  and,  to  his  ill- 
luck,  his  superior  officers,  great  and  small,  did  not  like 
him,  and  as  a  result  he  was  soundly  thrashed.  This 
grieved  the  soldier,  and  he  thought  of  deserting.  So, 
with  his  wallet  on  his  back  and  his  gun  on  his  shoulder, 
he  began  to  bid  farewell  to  his  comrades,  who  asked  him, 
"  Where  are  you  going  ?  Do  you  want  to  enter  a 
battalion  ?  " 

"  Do  not  ask  me,  my  brothers ;  just  buckle  my  wallet 
firmly  on,  and  do  not  think  evil  of  me." 

Then  the  good  youth  set  forth  whither  his  eyes  gazed. 
May  be  far,  may  be  near,  he  went  on  and  on,  and  arrived 
at  another  kingdom,  saw  the  sentry-guard  and  asked 
"  May  I  rest  here  ?  " 

So  the  sentry-guard  told  the  Corporal,  the  Corporal 
told  the  Officer,  and  the  Officer  told  the  General,  and 
the  General  told  the  King  himself.  And  the  King 
ordered  the  soldier  to  be  brought  before  him  in  order 
that  he  might  see  him  with  his  own  eyes.  And  the  soldier 
appeared  before  him  in  his  proper  regimentals,  with 
musket  on  his  shoulder,  as  though  he  were  rooted  to  the 
ground. 

Then  the  King  asked  him,  "  Tell  me  on  your  faith 
and  oath,  whence  are  you  and  where  are  you  going  ? J 

"  Your  kingly  Majesty,  do  not  have  me  punished  I 

204 


THE    REALM   OF    STONE  205 

Bid  the  word  be  not  spoken."  And  he  told  the  whole 
story  to  the  King,  and  asked  to  be  admitted  to  the 
service. 

"  Very  well,"  said  the  King ;  "  come  and  serve  me 
as  sentry  in  my  garden.  All  is  not  well  in  my  garden : 
somebody  is  breaking  my  best-loved  trees,  and  you  must 
endeavour  to  preserve  them ;  and,  as  to  the  reward  for 
your  labour,  you  shall  not  fare  ill." 

So  the  sentry  agreed  and  stood  as  sentry  in  the  garden. 
For  a  year,  for  two  years,  he  served  on,  and  all  went 
well.  But  in  the  third  year,  as  he  went  out,  he  went  to 
look  in  the  garden,  and  saw  that  half  of  the  best  trees 
had  been  shattered.  "  My  goodness  !  "  he  thought  to 
himself,  "  what  a  fearful  misfortune  !  If  the  King 
observes  this  he  will  instantly  have  me  pinioned  and 
hanged."  So  he  took  his  gun  in  his  hand,  went  to  a 
tree,  and  began  pondering  very  hard.  Then  he  heard  a 
crackling  and  a  rumbling.  So  the  good  youth  glimpsed 
down,  and  he  saw  a  fearful,  huge  bird  flying  into  the 
garden  and  overthrowing  the  trees.  The  soldier  fired 
at  the  bird,  but  could  not  kill  it ;  and  could  only  wing 
it  on  the  right  wing,  and  three  feathers  fell  out  of  the 
wing,  but  the  bird  took  to  flight.  After  him  the  soldier 
dashed.  The  bird's  wings  were  swift,  and  very  speedily 
it  flew  into  a  pit  and  vanished  from  sight.  But  the  soldier 
was  not  afraid  and  dived  down  after  him  into  the  pit, 
fell  into  the  deep  crevasse,  fell  down  flat  and  lay  for 
whole  days  unconscious. 

When  he  came  to  himself  he  got  up  and  he  looked, 
and  he  found  himself  in  the  subterranean  world,  where 
there  was  the  same  light  as  was  here.  "  I  suppose  there 
are  people  here  as  well,"  he  thought.  So  he  went  on  and 
on,  and  saw  a  great  city  and  a  sentry-box  in  front  of  it, 
and  in  it  a  sentry.  He  began  to  ask  him  questions,  but 
never  an  answer,  never  a  movement  !  So  he  took  him 
by  the  hand,  and  found  that  he  was  all  stone.  Then  the 


206  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


soldier  went  into  the  sentry-box :  and  there  were  man 
people,  and  they  stood  or  sat,  only  they  had  all  been 
turned  to  stone.  He  then  set  to  wandering  in  the  streets, 
and  everywhere  it  was  the  same — not  a  single  live  soul 
to  be  seen  !  Soon  he  came  to  a  decorated,  raised,  clean- 
cut  palace,  marched  in  there,  and  looked.  Rich  rooms ; 
and  food  and  drink  of  all  sorts  were  on  the  table  ;  and 
all  was  silent  and  empty.  So  the  soldier  ate  and  drank  ; 
sat  down  to  have  a  rest.  Suddenly  it  seemed  to  him  as 
though  some  one  had  come  up  the  steps.  So  he  shouldered 
his  musket  and  went  to  the  door. 

A  fair  Tsarevna  was  coming  in  with  her  maids  of 
honour  and  attendants.  The  soldier  bowed  down  to 
her,  and  she  curtsied  to  him  kindly. 

"  Hail,  soldier  !  "  she  said.  "  By  what  ill  doom  have 
you  fallen  down  here  ?  " 

So  the  soldier  began  to  tell  her.  "  I  was  engaged  as 
sentry  in  the  imperial  garden,  and  a  big  bird  came  and 
flew  round  the  trees  and  shattered  them.  I  watched 
him,  fired  at  him,  and  three  feathers  fell  out  of  his 
wing.  I  began  to  chase  after  him,  and  arrived  here." 

Then  she  answered,  "  That  bird  is  my  own  sister  : 
she  does  much  evil  of  every  kind  and  has  set  an  ill  doom 
on  my  kingdom,  having  turned  all  my  people  to  stone. 
Listen  !  here  is  a  book  for  you.  Stand  here  and  read  it 
from  evening  time  until  the  hour  when  the  cocks  crow. 
Whatever  suffering  may  come  over  you,  do  your  duty ; 
read  the  book,  keep  it  close  to  you  that  they  may  not 
tear  it  from  you,  otherwise  you  will  not  remain  alive. 
If  you  can  stay  here  for  three  nights  I  will  come  and 
marry  you." 

"  Very  well,"  said  the  soldier. 

Soon  it  became  dark,  and  he  took  the  book  and  began 
reading  it.  Then  there  was  a  knocking  and  a  thunder- 
ing, and  an  entire  host  appeared  in  the  palace.  All  his 
former  superiors  appeared  in  front  of  the  soldier,  scolded 


: 


THE   REALM    OF    STONE  207 

him  and  threatened  him  with  the  punishment  of  death. 
And  they  got  their  guns  and  were  levelling  them  at  him  : 
but  the  soldier  never  looked  at  them,  never  let  the  book 
drop  out  of  his  hand,  and  simply  went  on  reading.  Then 
the  cocks  crowed,  and  it  all  vanished  ! 

On  the  next  night  it  was  still  more  terrible,  and  on 
the  third  night  worst  of  all.  All  the  executioners  came 
up  with  their  saws,  axes,  clubs,  and  wanted  to  break  his 
bones,  put  him  on  the  rack,  burn  him  at  the  stake,  and 
were  devising  any  means  of  getting  the  book  out  of  his 
hand.  It  was  fearful  torture,  and  the  soldier  could 
hardly  endure  it.  Then  the  cocks  crowed,  and  the 
demons  vanished  ! 

At  the  same  time  the  entire  kingdom  awoke,  and  in 
the  streets  and  in  the  houses  people  bestirred  themselves, 
and  in  the  palace  the  Tsarevna  and  her  generals  and  her 
suite  appeared,  and  all  began  to  thank  the  soldier,  and 
they  made  him  their  king. 

On  the  next  day  he  married  the  fair  Princess,  and  lived 
with  her  in  love  and  joy. 


So  the  soldier,  the  peasant's  son,  became  a  Tsar,  and 
he  still  reigns. 

He  is  a  very  good  king  over  his  subjects,  and  is  very 
generous  to  other  soldiers. 


THE   STORY   OF   TSAR   ANGEY  AND 
HOW  HE  SUFFERED  FOR  PRIDE 

ONCE  there  was  in  the  city  of  Filuyan1  a  Tsar  named 
Angey,  who  was  very  famous.  And,  in  course  of  time, 
it  came  upon  him  to  stand  in  the  church  at  the  Divine 
Service  at  the  reading  of  the  sacred  Gospel  by  the  priest, 
when  the  priest  was  reading  those  verses  in  the  Gospel 
in  which  it  is  said :  He  hath  put  down  the  mighty  from 
their  seat,  and  hath  exalted  the  humble  and  meek.  And 
when  the  Tsar  heard  this  he  grew  angry,  and  the  Tsar 
spoke :  "  This  writing  is  falsely  written  ;  the  word  of 
the  Gospel  is  untrue."  And  the  Tsar  said :  "  I  am  very 
rich  and  famous.  How  shall  I  be  put  down  from  my 
seat  and  the  humble  and  meek  be  exalted  ?  "  And  then 
he  was  filled  with  fear.  And  the  Tsar  bade  the  priest 
be  confined  in  a  dungeon,  and  he  bade  that  page  be 
torn  out  of  the  Gospel  Book.  And  the  Tsar  went  to 
his  palace  and  began  to  eat  and  drink  and  be  merry. 

When  the  Tsar  saw  a  deer  in  the  fields,  he  went  up 
and  he  took  his  young  men  with  him,  and  he  hunted  him 
and  almost  captured  the  deer ;  and  the  deer  was  very 
beautiful.  And  the  Tsar  spoke  to  his  champions :  "  Do 
ye  stand  here.  I  will  go,  and  I  alone  will  take  the  deer 
alive."  And  he  hunted  after  him,  and  they  swam  across 
the  stream.  The  Tsar  tied  his  horse  to  an  oak,  and  tied 
his  garments  around  him,  and  swam  naked  across  the 
stream.  Then  the  deer  became  invisible,  and  an  angel 
of  God  stood  by  the  Tsar's  horse  in  the  image  of  Tsar 

1  A  mythical  city,  very  probably  derived  from 
208 


THE  STORY  OF  TSAR  ANGEY  209 

Angey  and  spoke  to  the  youths.  "  The  deer  has  swum 
across  the  stream." 

And  he  went  with  the  youths  into  the  Tsar's  city  to 
his  palace. 

But  Tsar  Angey  went  back  for  his  horse,  but  he  could 
neither  find  his  steed  nor  his  apparel,  and  he  remained 
there  naked  and  began  to  think.  And  Angey  went  up 
to  his  city,  and  he  saw  shepherds  feeding  oxen,  and  he 
asked  them  :  "  Ye  lesser  brothers,  shepherds,  where  have 
ye  seen  my  horse  and  my  garments  ?  "  And  the  shep- 
herds asked  him  :  "  Who  art  thou  ?  "  He  said  to  them  : 
"  I  am  Tsar  Angey."  And  the  shepherds  spake :  "  Wicked 
boaster  !  how  darest  thou  call  thyself  the  Tsar,  for  we 
have  seen  Tsar  Angey,  who  has  just  ridden  into  his  city 
with  five  youths  !  "  And  they  began  to  rebuke  him  and 
to  beat  him  with  whips  and  scourges.  And  the  Tsar 
began  to  weep  and  to  sob.  The  shepherds  drove  him 
afar,  and  he  went  naked  into  his  city. 

The  trade  folk  of  the  city  met  him  on  his  way  and  asked 
him :  "  Man,  why  art  thou  naked  ?  "  And  he  said  to 
them  :  "  Robbers  have  stolen  my  garments."  AncLthey 
gave  him  a  poor  and  tattered  dress.  He  took  it  and  bowed 
down  to  them,  and  he  went  unto  his  city,  and  arrived 
in  his  town,  and  he  asked  a  widow  if  he  might  stay  there 
the  night,  and  he  questioned  her,  saying :  "  Say,  my 
mistress,  who  is  the  Tsar  here  ?  "  And  she  replied  to 
him :  "  Art  thou  not  a  man  of  our  country  ?  "  And 
she  said :  "  Our  Tsar  is  Tsar  Angey."  He  asked :  "  For 
how  many  years  has  he  been  Tsar  ?  "  And  she  said : 
"  For  years  five  and  thirty." 

He  then  wrote  a  letter  with  his  own  hand  to  the 
Tsaritsa,  that  he  had  secret  things  and  thoughts  to 
speak  of  with  her  ;  and  he  bade  a  woman  take  this  letter 
to  the  queen.  The  Tsaritsa  received  the  letter  and  had 
it  read  to  her.  He  signed  it  as  her  husband,  Tsar  Angey. 
And  a  great  fear  fell  upon  her,  and  in  her  fear  she  began 


210  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

to  speak :  "  How  can  this  poor  man  name  me  his  wife  ? 
I  must  inform  the  Tsar  and  have  him  punished."  And 
she  bade  him  be  beaten  with  whips  mercilessly,  without 
informing  the  Tsar.  He  was  pitilessly  beaten,  and  was 
scarcely  left  alive,  and  could  hardly  leave  the  town.  He 
wept  and  sobbed,  and  remembered  the  words  of  the 
Gospel :  He  hath  put  down  the  mighty  from  their  seat, 
and  hath  exalted  the  humble  and  meek.  And  he  spoke  to  a 
pope  of  this,  how  he  had  profaned  the  Sacred  Book,  and 
had  sent  the  priest  into  the  dark  dungeon,  and  had  gone 
a  long,  long  way. 

And  the  Tsaritsa  spoke  to  the  angel  who  was  taking  the 
shape  of  the  Tsar :  "  Thou,  my  dear  lord,  for  one  year 
hast  not  slept  with  me.  How  can  I,  then,  be  thine  ?  " 
And  the  Tsar  spake  to  her :  "  I  have  made  a  covenant 
with  God  that  for  three  years  I  will  not  sleep  with  thee 
nor  share  thy  bed."  And  he  left  her  and  went  into  the 
Tsar's  palace. 

/  Angey  the  Tsar  arrived  in  an  unknown  town  and 
engaged  himself  with  a  peasant  to  reap  the  harvest ;  and 
he  did  not  know  how  to  do  a  peasant's  work ;  and  the 
peasant  discharged  him,  and  he  began  to  weep  and  sob, 
and  went  on  his  way  from  that  city.  And  poor  men 

\rnet  him  on  the  road.  He  said  to  them :  "  Will  ye  take 
me  up  with  ye  ?  I  am  now  a  poor  man,  and  do  not  know 
how  to  work,  and  I  am  ashamed  to  beg.  What  ye  bid 
of  me  I  will  do.  I  will  work  for  you."  And  they  accepted 
him  and  gave  him  a  burden  to  carry.  And  they  went  to 
lie  at  night,  and  they  bade  him  heat  the  bath,  carry 
water,  and  lay  the  bed.  And  Tsar  Angey  wept  bitterly : 
"  Woe  to  me  !  What  have  I  done  !  I  was  wroth  with 
the  Sovereign,  and  He  has  deprived  me  of  my  kingdom 
and  has  brought  me  to  ruin,  and  I  have  suffered  all  this 
through  the  word  of  the  Gospel." 

In  the  morning  the  poor  men  got  up,  and  they  arrived 
at  his  own  city  of  Filuyan.  And  they  reached  the  abode 


THE  STORY  OF  TSAR  ANGEY  211 

of  the  Tsar  and  began  to  beg  for  alms.  At  this  time  the 
Tsar  was  holding  a  mighty  feast,  and  he  bade  the  poor 
be  summoned  into  the  palace,  bade  them  be  fed  suffi- 
ciently, and  he  bade  the  food  of  the  poor  men  be  taken 
into  the  Tsar's  palace  and  put  into  a  special  room. 
And,  when  the  Tsar's  feast  was  over  and  the  boyars1  and 
the  guests  had  all  separated,  the  angel  who  had  taken 
the  form  of  the  Tsar  Angey  came  to  him  in  the  palace 
where  Angey  the  Tsar  was  dining  with  the  beggars : 
"  Dost  thou  know  of  a  proud  and  mighty  Tsar,  how  he^ 
profaned  the  word  of  the  Gospel  ?  "  And  he  began  to 
teach  him  and  to  instruct  him  before  all  of  the  world, 
that  he  must  not  profane  the  word  of  the  Gospel,  and 
must  show  respect  for  the  priests,  and  must  not  upraise 
himself,  but  must  be  kindly  and  inclined  to  the  ways  of  / 
peace. 

1  Earls. 


THE    FEAST   OF   THE   DEAD 

SOME  girls  were  out  at  night  for  the  evening,  and 
arranged  for  an  evening  party.  They  went  out  to  get 
some  vodka.  There  were  bones  lying  on  the  road. 
"  Ho  !  "  they  said,  "  bones,  bones,  come  and  be  our 
guests  :  we  are  having  an  evening  party." 

So,  they  went  back  home,  brought  the  vodka,  and 
stepped  in  over  the  threshold. 

But  the  bones  came  and  sat  at  the  table  just  like  men, 
and  said  to  the  maidens,  "  Now  give  us  the  brandy." 

So  the  girls  gave  them  brandy. 

"  Give  us  bread  !  " 

So  they  gave  them  bread. 

They  all  sat  down  to  eat,  and  one  maiden  dropped  the 
meat. 

Then  the  bones  began  lifting  and  stretching  their  legs 
under  the  bench.  The  girls  tried  to  run  away  ;  and  the 
bones  raced  after  them.  The  bones  caught  one  girl  up, 
and  broke  her  across  their  knees.  The  other  girls  made 
their  escape  into  the  loft ;  one  girl  hid  behind  the 
water-butt. 

The  bones  ran  up  to  the  loft  and  asked :  "  What  is 
there  up  there  ?  " 

"  God's  taper." 

"  But  down  there  ?  " 

"  The  Devil's  poker,"  she  answered. 

So  the  bones  hauled  the  second  girl  out  and  strangled 
her. 


212 


THE    QUARRELSOME   WIFE 

"  FATHER,  I  should  like  to  marry  !  Mother,  I  should 
like  to  marry,  I  should  really,"  said  the  youth. 

"  Well  then,  my  child — marry." 

So  he  married,  and  chose  a  lanky,  black,  squinting  wife. 
She  would  have  pleased  Satan  more  than  the  clear-eyed 
hawk,  and  it  was  no  good  frothing  at  anybody :  he  was 
the  only  person  in  the  wrong.  So  he  lived  with  her  and 
wrung  his  tears  out  with  his  fist. 

One  day  he  went  out  where  audiences  were  being 
given,  stood  there,  and  came  home. 

"  Wherever  have  you  been  sauntering  ?  "  asked  his 
squint-eyed  wife.  "  What  have  you  seen  ?  " 

"  Oh,  they  say  that  a  new  Tsar  has  come  on  the 
throne  and  has  issued  a  new  ukaz  that  wives  are  to  com- 
mand their  husbands  !  " 

He  only  meant  to  joke,  but  she  sprang  up,  pulled  his 
whiskers  and  said,  "  Go  to  the  stream  and  wash  the 
shirts,  take  the  broom  and  sweep  the  house,  then  go 
and  sit  by  the  cradle  and  rock  the  child,  cook  the  supper 
and  grill  and  bake  the  cakes." 

The  man  wanted  to  answer,  "  What  are  you  talking 
about,  woman  ?  That  is  not  a  man's  work."  Then  he 
looked  at  her,  and  he  froze  cold  and  his  tongue  clave  to 
his  throat. 

So  he  got  the  washing  together,  baked  the  cakes, 
swept  the  cottage,  and  was  no  good  for  anything. 

One  year  went  by,  and  a  second,  and  the  good  youth 
got  rather  weary  of  the  yoke.  But  what  on  earth  was 
he  to  do  ?  He  had  married  and  he  had  tied  himself  for 

213 


214  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

all  eternity,  and,  may-be,  his  entire  life  would  go  by  in 
this  misery.  From  sheer  wretchedness  he  contrived  him- 
self this  contrivance.  In  the  forest  there  was  a  deep  pit 
of  which  neither  end  nor  bottom  could  be  seen.  So  he 
took  and  closed  it  up  on  the  top  with  stakes,  and  strewed 
it  over  with  straw.  Then  he  came  up  to  his  wife  :  "  My 
dear  wife,  you  don't  know  that  there  is  a  treasure  in  the 
forest.  It  simply  moans  and  groans  with  gold,  and  will 
not  give  itself  up  to  me.  It  said,  *  Send  for  your  wife.' ' 

"  Ha,  ha  !  let  us  go :  I  will  take  it,  and  you  say 
nothing  about  it." 

So  they  went  into  the  wood.  "  Sssh,  woman,  that  is 
hollow  ground  out  of  which  the  treasure  comes  forth." 

"  Oh,  what  a  fool  you  are  of  a  peasant,  frightened  of 
everything  !  This  is  how  I  run  up  to  it."  So  she  ran 
up  to  the  straw  and  was  precipitated  into  the  pit. 

"  Now,  off  you  go,"  said  the  peasant ;  "  I  am  now 
going  to  have  a  rest." 

So  he  had  a  rest  for  a  month,  and  a  second  month, 
but  he  soon  became  melancholy  without  his  squint-eyed 
wife.  So  he  went  into  the  forest,  and  he  went  into  the 
field,  and  he  went  to  the  river,  and  he  could  only  think 
of  her.  "  Possibly  by  now  she  has  become  quiet.  Possibly 
I  will  take  her  out  again."  So  he  took  a  withy,  let  it  into 
the  ground,  and  he  listened :  she  was  sitting  there.  He 
drew  it  up,  looked  at  it  very  near,  looked  very  carefully, 
and  in  the  basket  there  was  a  little  devil  sitting.  At  this 
the  peasant  was  frightened,  and  almost  let  the  cord  fall 
out  of  his  hands. 

Then  the  little  devil  begged  him  and  cried  in  his  ear : 
"  Do  let  me  go,  peasant.  Your  wife  has  been  torturing 
and  oppressing  us.  Tell  me  what  to  do :  I  will  be  your 
faithful  servant.  I  will  this  very  instant  run  into  the 
boydrs*  palace  ;  I  will  in  an  instant  cook  the  grill ;  by 
day  and  night  I  will  knock  and  drive  away  the  boydrs. 
You  are  to  declare  yourself  a  doctor  to  go  and  to  call  on 


THE   QUARRELSOME   WIFE  215 

me.  I  will  leap  up  on  the  spot  and  vanish.  Now,  go 
and  dig  ;  shovel  up  your  money." 

So  the  peasant  let  the  devil  leap  out,  shake  himself 
and  vanish  away.  And  from  that  day  everything  went 
upside  down  in  the  boydrs9  house,  and  they  began  looking 
for  some  doctor :  the  good  youth  dubbed  himself  a 
doctor,  exorcised  the  devil,  and  received  good  pay. 
Soon  the  rumour  went  forth  that  in  the  prince's  palace, 
in  the  lofty  castle  home,  familiar  spirits  were  appearing, 
and  never  gave  the  princes  rest.  They  sent  for  hunters 
in  every  part  of  the  earth,  and  summoned  them  to  as- 
semble doctors.  They  collected  from  all  the  kings :  it 
was  no  good.  The  familiar  spirits  still  knocked  and 
groaned. 

At  last  our  doctor  arrived,  recognised  his  old  acquain- 
tance, called  for  his  little  devil,  and  the  little  devil  never 
thought  of  running  away,  and  he  would  not  leave  the 
prince's  palace.  "  Wait  a  little,  if  this  is  the  case,"  cried 
the  doctor.  "  Ho,  my  squint-eyed  wife,  just  come  up 
here  !  "  Then  the  little  devil  could  not  stand  it  and 
took  to  his  heels  out  of  the  stove. 

So  the  doctor  received  honour  and  praise,  and  earned 
a  mine  of  money.  But  it  is  said,  not  untruly,  that,  even 
in  Paradise,  it  is  sad  to  live  alone.  For  the  good  youth 
grew  melancholy,  and  he  again  went  to  seek  his  squint- 
eyed  wife.  So  he  let  down  the  basket  right  away  into 
the  pit.  There  the  woman  was  sitting,  and  he  hauled 
her  to  the  top.  As  soon  as  ever  she  came  near  she  was 
breathing  out  fire  and  fury,  gnashing  her  teeth  and 
brandishing  her  fists.  The  peasant's  hands  shook  with 
fear,  and  the  withy  broke,  and  the  squint-eyed  woman 
clashed  down  as  before  into  Hell. 


ELIJAH  THE  PROPHET  AND  ST.  NICHOLAS 

ONCE,  a  long  time  ago,  there  lived  a  peasant.  He  always 
observed  St.  Nicholas'  day,  but  never,  never,  that  of 
St.  Elias ;  he  even  worked  on  it.  He  used  to  say  a  le 
Deum  to  Nicholas,  and  burn  a  taper,  but  never  gave  as 
much  as  a  thought  to  the  Prophet  Elijah. 

One  day  Elijah  and  Nicholas  were  walking  through 
this  peasant's  fields,  going  along  and  surveying  ;  and 
the  ears  were  so  large,  so  full,  that  it  warmed  one's  heart 
to  look  at  them  ! 

"  What  a  fine  crop  this  will  be  !  "  said  Nicholas. 
"  Yes,  and  he's  a  fine  fellow,  a  good,  brave  peasant, 
pious ;  he  remembers  God,  and  reveres  the  Holy  Saints. 
Whatever  he  turns  his  hand  to  shall  prosper." 

"  Ha,  let's  have  a  look,  brother,"  Elijah  demurred. 
"  Will  there  be  so  much  over  ?  My  lightnings  shall 
glint  and  my  hail  beat  his  field  down  ;  then  your  peasant 
shall  learn  right,  and  regard  my  name-day." 

So  they  wrangled  and  argued,  and  at  last  agreed  to  go 
each  his  own  way. 

St.  Nicholas  at  once  went  off  to  the  peasant,  and  said : 
"  Go  and  sell  the  Father  by  St.  Elias'  all  your  standing 
corn  :  not  a  blade  will  be  left ;  it  will  be  destroyed  by 
hail." 

Up  the  peasant  dashed  to  the  pope :  "  Oh,  bdtyushka, 
won't  you  buy  all  my  standing  corn  ?  I'll  sell  you  my 
whole  field  ;  I  am  so  short  of  money  ;  take  it  and  give 
it  me.  Do  buy  it,  Father  ;  I'll  sell  it  cheap." 

They  haggled  and  bargained,  and  at  last  agreed.  The 
peasant  took  his  cash  and  went  home. 

216 


ELIJAH  THE  PROPHET  AND  ST.  NICHOLAS    217 

Time  went  by — not  much,  nor  little  ;  a  heavy  thun- 
drous  cloud  gathered,  and,  with  frightsome  lightning  and 
hail,  played  on  the  peasant's  field,  cut  through  his  crops 
like  a  scythe,  and  left  not  one  blade  to  tell  the  tale. 

Next  day,  Elijah  and  Nicholas  were  faring  through, 
and  Elijah  said :  "  Look  how  I've  blasted  the  peasant's 
field  !  " 

"  The  peasant's  field  ?  No,  my  brother,  no  ;  you've 
done  your  work  thoroughly  ;  but  it  belongs  to  the  pope 
by  St.  Elias,  not  to  the  peasant." 

"  What !    That  pope  ?  " 

"  Oh,  yes  ;  about  a  week  ago  the  peasant  sold  the 
field  to  the  pope,  and  got  hard  cash  for  it !  And  the 
pope  is  crying  over  the  spilt  money." 

"  That  won't  do,"  said  Elijah ;  "  I  will  grow  the 
meadow  anew — 'twill  be  as  good  as  it  was." 

They  had  their  talk  out  and  went  on  their  way. 

Up  went  St.  Nicholas  to  the  peasant  once  again.  "  Go 
and  see  the  pope,"  he  said,  "  and  redeem  your  field  ; 
you  won't  lose  by  it." 

The  peasant  went  to  see  the  pope.  "  The  Lord  has 
grievously  afflicted  you,  has  smitten  your  field  with  hail, 
as  smooth  as  a  board.  Let's  share  the  cost  of  it ;  I  will 
take  back  my  field,  and  to  relieve  your  loss  will  return 
you  half  the  money." 

Oh,  how  glad  the  pope  was  to  consent !  They  shook 
hands  on  it  at  once. 

Meanwhile,  somehow  or  other,  the  peasant's  field 
righted  itself  ;  new  shoots  sprang  up  out  of  the  old  roots, 
the  rain  poured  down  on  them,  and  nourished  the  earth  ; 
wonderful  fresh  corn  grew  up,  lofty  and  thick ;  not  a 
weed  to  be  seen  ;  and  the  ears  were  so  full  that  they 
bowed  down  to  earth.  The  little  sun  warmed  them, 
and  the  rye  was  warmed  through,  and  waved  like  a 
field  of  gold.  The  peasant  bound  up  sheaf  after  sheaf, 
built  rick  after  rick  ;  carted  it  away  and  stacked  it. 


zi8  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Just  then  Elijah  and  St.  Nicholas  were  once  more 
passing  by.  Elijah  looked  blithely  at  the  field  and  said : 
"  Just  look,  Nicholas,  what  a  blessing  I  have  wrought ! 
This  is  my  reward  to  the  pope,  and  he'll  never  forget  it 
all  his  life." 

"  The  pope  !  No,  brother ;  it  is  a  great  boon,  but  then 
this  is  the  peasant's  field ;  the  pope  hasn't  a  rod  of  it ! " 

"  Wha-at  ?  " 

"  It  is  true.  After  the  meadow  had  been  battered  by 
hail,  the  peasant  went  up  to  the  pope  and  bought  it 
back  at  half  price." 

"  Stop  a  bit,"  said  the  Prophet  Elijah,  "  I'll  take  all 
the  good  out  of  it ;  out  of  all  the  peasant's  ricks  he  shall 
not  thresh  more  than  six  gallons  at  a  time." 

"  Here,  this  looks  bad,"  thought  St.  Nicholas,  and 
instantly  went  to  see  the  peasant,  and  said :  "  See  to  it ; 
when  you  start  threshing,  never  take  more  than  a  sheaf 
at  a  time  on  the  threshing-floor." 

So  the  peasant  set  to  threshing,  and  he  got  six  gallons 
out  of  every  sheaf ;  all  his  granaries  and  lofts  were  full 
up  with  rye,  and  still  there  was  much  left  over  ;  he  built 
new  storehouses,  and  filled  them  full  to  the  flush. 

But  one  day  Elijah  the  Prophet  and  St.  Nicholas  were 
passing  by  his  courtyard,  and  Elijah  glanced  up  and  said  : 
"  Why  has  he  built  these  new  granaries  ?  How  can  he 
stock  them  all  ?  " 

"  They're  full  up,"  St.  Nicholas  replied. 

"  How  did  he  get  so  much  grain  ?  " 

"  Oho  !  Every  sheaf  yielded  him  six  gallons,  and,  as 
soon  as  he  started  threshing,  he  brought  them  in  sheaf 
by  sheaf." 

"  Oh,  my  brother  Nicholas !  "  Elijah  guessed  :  "  you 
must  have  told  him  what  to  do  !  " 

"  Well,  I  thought  it  all  out,  and  was  going  to  say  .  .  ." 

"  What  are  you  after  ?  It's  all  your  work.  Never 
mind  ;  your  peasant  shall  still  have  a  reminder  of  me." 


ELIJAH  THE  PROPHET  AND  ST.  NICHOLAS  219 

"  What  will  you  do  ?  " 

"  I  shall  not  tell  you  this  time  !  " 

"  Well,  if  evil  is  to  be,  it  will  come." 

Nicholas  thought,  and  again  went  to  the  peasant,  told 
him  to  buy  two  tapers,  one  big  and  one  small,  and  gave 
him  instructions. 

Next  day  Elijah  the  Prophet  and  St.  Nicholas  were 
out  together  in  the  guise  of  wanderers,  and  the  peasant 
happened  to  meet  them,  carrying  two  waxen  candles — 
one  big  one  that  cost  a  rouble,  and  a  little  one  that  cost 
a  copek. 

"  Where  are  you  going  to,  peasant  ?  "  St.  Nicholas 
said. 

"  Oh,  lam  going  to  light  the  rouble  taper  to  the 
Prophet  Elijah  ;  he  has  been  so  charitable  to  me.  My 
field  was  ravaged  by  hail,  so  he  intervened,  bdtyushka, 
and  gave  me  a  crop  twice  as  good." 

"  For  whom  is  the  farthing  dip  ?  " 

"  Oh,  for  St.  Nicholas !  "  the  peasant  said,  and  pur- 
sued his  way. 

"  There  you  are,  Elijah,"  said  St.  Nicholas :  "  you  said 
I  gave  everything  away  to  the  peasant ;  now  you  see 
what  the  truth  is." 

And  with  this  the  dispute  was  ended :  Elijah  the 
Prophet  was  reconciled,  and  ceased  persecuting  the 
peasant  with  hail-storms,  so  that  he  lived  a  merry  life 
from  that  day  and  honoured  both  name-days  equally. 


THE  PRINCESS  TO  BE  KISSED  AT  A  CHARGE 

WE  still  say  that  we  are  clever,  but  our  elders  go  and 
quarrel  with  us  and  say,  "  No,  we  had  more  sense  than 
you."  But  the  tale  tells  that,  even  when  our  grand- 
fathers had  not  learned  their  lessons  and  our  great- 
great-great-great-grandfathers  had  not  been  born,  in  a 
certain  kingdom,  in  a  certain  land,  once  there  lived  an  old 
man  who  had  taught  his  three  sons  reading  and  writing. 

"  Now,  children,"  he  said  to  them,  "  I  shall  die ;  do 
you  come  and  read  prayers  over  my  grave." 

"  Very  well,  bdtyusbka,"  the  three  sons  answered. 
And  the  two  elder  brothers  were  indeed  fine  lads,  and 
they  grew  up  fine  stout  fellows ;  but  the  youngest, 
Vanyushka,1  was  under-sized,  like  a  starved  duckling, 
and  flat-chested.  The  old  man,  their  father,  died. 

Just  about  then  a  decree  was  issued  by  the  Tsar  that 
his  daughter,  Elena  Tsarevna  the  Fair,  had  ordered  a 
temple  to  be  built  for  her,  with  twelve  columns  and 
twelve  wreaths.  She  was  going  to  sit  in  this  temple  on  a 
lofty  throne,  and  was  going  to  wait  for  the  bridegroom — 
the  valiant  man  who  should  on  a  flying  horse,  at  a  single 
spring,  kiss  her  on  the  lips.  All  the  young  folks  were  bust- 
ling about,  washing  themselves  clean,  combing  their  hair, 
and  considering  to  whom  should  the  great  honour  fall. 

"  Brothers,"  Vanyushka  said,  "  our  father  is  dead : 
who  of  us  will  go  and  read  prayers  on  his  grave  ?  " 

"  Whoever  wishes  may  go,"  answered  the  brothers. 

So  the  youngest  went.  But  the  elders  got  ready  and 
mounted  their  horses,  curled  their  hair,  dyed  their  hair ; 
and  all  their  kinsmen  gathered  round. 

1  Diminutive  of  Iv£n ;  so  too  Vinya. 

220 


THE  PRINCESS  TO  BE  KISSED  221 

Then  the  second  night  came :  "  Brothers,  I  read  the 
prayers  last  night,"  Vanya  said  ;  "  it's  your  turn  ;  which 
of  you  will  go  ?  " 

"  Any  one  who  wishes  may  go ;  don't  interfere  with  us." 

They  gave  their  hats  a  knowing  tilt,  whooped  and 
shouted,  flew  about,  and  rushed  and  galloped  abroad  on 
the  open  fields ;  and  once  again  Vanya  read  the  prayers ; 
and  so,  too,  on  the  third  night.  But  the  brothers  saddled 
their  horses,  combed  out  their  whiskers,  and  got  ready 
on  the  very  morrow  to  try  their  prowess  in  front  of  the 
eyes  of  Elena  the  Fair.  "  What  about  our  youngest 
brother  ?  "  they  thought. 

"  Never  mind  about  him  ;  he  will  only  disgrace  us 
and  make  people  smile :  let  us  go  by  ourselves."  So 
they  started. 

But  Vanya  also  very  much  wanted  to  look  at  Princess 
Elena  the  Fair,  and  so  he  wept  sorely,  and  he  went  to 
his  father's  grave,  and  his  father  heard  him  in  his  last 
home,  and  he  came  up  to  him,  shook  off  the  grey  earth 
from  his  forehead,  and  said,  "  Do  not  grieve,  Vanyushka  ; 
I  will  aid  you  in  your  sorrow."  Then  the  old  man  got  up, 
whistled  and  halloed  with  a  young  man's  voice,  with  a 
nightingale's  trill ;  and  from  some  source  or  other  a 
horse  ran  up,  and  the  earth  trembled,  and  from  his 
nostrils  and  from  his  ears  flames  issued  forth.  He 
breathed  smoke,  and  stood  in  front  of  the  old  man  as 
though  he  were  rooted  to  the  ground,  and  asked  him, 
"  What  do  you  wish  ?  " 

Vanya  mounted  the  horse  by  one  ear,  dismounted  it 
by  the  other,  and  turned  into  so  fine  a  youth  as  no  tale 
can  tell  and  no  pen  can  write.  He  sat  on  the  horse, 
bent  over  sideways  ;  and  he  flew  like  your  hawk  over 
there,  straight  to  the  palace  of  Elena  the  Fair  Tsarevna. 
He  stretched  out,  leaped  on,  and  he  did  not  reach  two 
of  the  crowns.  He  again  made  an  effort,  flew  up, 
jumped ;  there  was  only  one  wreath  left.  He  made 


222  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

one  more  effort,  turned  round  once  more,  and,  as  fire 
leaps  to  the  eyes,  he  instantly  kissed  and  smacked  Elena 
the  Fair  on  the  lips.  "  Who  is  it !  Who  is  it !  Catch 
him  !  "  For  his  very  trace  had  vanished.  Then  he 
leapt  back  to  his  father's  grave,  and  he  let  his  horse  free 
into  the  open  field  ;  and  he  then  bowed  down  to  the 
earth  and  asked  advice  of  his  father,  and  the  old  man 
gave  him  advice.  Vanya  went  back  home  as  though  he 
had  never  been  there  ;  and  the  brothers  told  him  where 
they  had  been,  what  they  had  done  and  seen  ;  and  he 
listened  as  though  he  had  never  heard  of  it  before. 

There  was  another  bout  next  day,  and  you  could 
never  see  an  end  of  the  boydrs  and  the  lords  seated  at 
the  royal  palace.  The  elder  brothers  started  out,  and 
the  younger  brother  set  out  on  foot  secretly  and  quietly, 
just  as  though  he  had  never  kissed  the  Tsarevna,  and  he 
stopped  in  his  distant  corner.  Elena  Tsarevna  was 
asking  for  her  bridegroom  ;  Elena  Tsarevna  was  wishing 
to  show  him  to  the  whole  world,  desiring  to  give  him 
the  half  of  her  kingdom ;  but  never  a  bridegroom 
appeared.  They  were  looking  for  him  in  the  midst  of 
the  boydrs,  in  the  midst  of  the  generals ;  and  they  went 
to  them  all,  but  they  could  not  find  him.  But  Vanya 
looked  on  and  smiled,  and  waited  until  his  bride  came 
to  him.  For  he  said,  "  I  won  her  like  a  knight ;  now  she 
is  to  love  me  in  my  kaftan." 

So  she  got  up,  looked  out  of  the  open  windows, 
glanced  through  them  all,  and  then  she  saw  and  recog- 
nised her  bridegroom,  took  him  to  herself,  and  soon  the 
betrothal  took  place.  And  oh,  what  a  fine  young  man 
he  was — so  sensible,  brave,  and  so  handsome  !  He  used 
to  sit  on  his  flying  horse,  undo  his  cap,  put  his  arms 
a-kimbo ;  and  he  seemed  like  a  king,  like  the  reigning 
king  ;  and  you  looked  on,  and  you  would  never  have 
imagined  that  at  one  time  he  could  ever  have  been  poor 
Vanyushka. 


THE  WOOD  SPRITE 

ONE  day  the  daughter  of  a  pope,  without  asking  leave 
of  her  mother  or  her  father,  went  for  a  walk  into  the 
wood,  and  utterly  lost  her  way.  Three  years  went  by. 
Now,  in  this  wood,  in  which  her  mother  and  father 
lived,  there  was  a  bold  hunter.  On  every  holy  day  he 
used  to  go  hunting  with  his  gun  and  his  dog  in  the 
dreamy  forest. 

One  day  he  went  into  the  wood,  and  the  hairs  of  his 
dog  bristled  up.  Then  the  hunter  looked,  and  in  front 
of  him  there  was  a  stump  on  the  wood  path,  and  a 
Peasant  stood  on  the  stump  and  was  cleaning  his  bast 
shoe.  He  went  on  with  his  shoe  and  was  threatening 
the  moon :  "  Light,  give  me  light,  clear  moon."  It  was 
all  very  strange  to  the  hunter.  "  Why  does  this 
Peasant,"  he  thought,  "  live  by  himself  ?  He  looks  so 
young,  but  his  hair  is  quite  grey." 

He  only  thought  this,  but  the  Peasant  guessed  his 
thought  and  said,  "  Why  am  I  grey  ?  Because  I  am 
the  Devil's  grandfather." 

Then  the  hunter  understood  that  it  was  no  mere 
peasant  he  saw,  but  the  Wood  Sprite,  and  he  aimed 
at  him  with  his  gun,  Sang  !  and  he  hit  him  in  the  belly. 
The  Wood  Sprite  groaned,  almost  fell  down  from  the 
stump,  and  that  very  instant  jumped  up  again  and 
crept  into  the  thicket.  After  him  ran  the  dog,  and  after 
the  dog  ran  the  hunter.  So  he  went  on  and  on  and  on, 
and  he  came  up  to  the  mountains,  and  on  one  of  the 
mountains  there  was  a  fissure,  and  in  the  fissure  stood  a 
little  hut. 

223 


224  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

He  entered  the  hut  and  looked,  and  there  was  the 
Wood  Sprite  rolling  on  a  bench,  absolutely-  out  of  breath, 
and  beside  him  a  maiden  who  was  weeping  bitterly. 
"  Who  will  now  give  me  food  and  drink  ?  " 

"  Hail,  fair  maiden  !  "  said  the  hunter  ;  "  tell  me 
what  you  are  and  whence." 

"  O  doughty  youth,  I  do  not  know  myself :  I  have 
never  seen  the  free  world,  and  I  have  never  known  my 
father  and  mother." 

"  Well,  come  quickly,  I  will  take  you  back  to  Holy 
Russia."  So  he  took  her  with  him  and  led  her  out  of 
the  wood,  and  he  went  through  the  villages,  inquiring 
of  all  of  the  places.  Now,  this  maiden  had  been  taken 
away  by  the  Wood  Sprite,  and  had  lived  with  him  for 
three  whole  years,  and  she  had  been  enclosed  and  cut 
off,  and  was  almost  entirely  naked,  but  she  had  no  shame. 
Then  they  came  to  the  village,  and  the  huntsman  began 
to  ask  whether  anyone  had  lost  a  maiden. 

Then  the  pope  said,  "  This  is  my  daughter."  And 
the  pope's  wife  came :  "  Oh,  my  dear  daughter,  where 
have  you  been  so  long  ?  I  never  thought  I  should  see 
you  any  more." 

Then  the  daughter  looked  at  them,  but  was  simply 
staggered  and  understood  nothing,  and  only  afterwards, 
little  by  little,  came  to  herself.  The  pope  and  his  wife 
gave  her  in  marriage  to  the  huntsman  and  rewarded 
him  with  all  good  things. 

Then  they  went  to  look  for  the  izba1  in  which  she  had 
lived  with  the  Wood  Sprite.  They  wandered  far  into 
the  woods,  but  could  not  find  it. 

1  Hut. 


THE  REALMS  OF  COPPER,  SILVER  AND  GOLD 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  an  old  man  and  his  old 
wife,  and  they  had  three  sons.  One  was  called  Egorushko 
Zalyot  j1  the  second  was  called  Misha  Kosolapy  ;2  and 
the  third  was  called  Ivashko  Zapechnik.3  The  parents 
wanted  to  secure  wives  for  them,  and  sent  the  eldest  son 
out  to  seek  a  bride.  He  went  for  a  long  time,  and  saw 
many  maidens,  but  he  took  none  to  wife,  for  he  liked 
none  well  enough.  On  the  way  he  met  a  three-headed 
dragon,  and  was  very  frightened. 

The  dragon  asked  him,  "  Whither  are  you  going,  brave 
youth  ?  " 

"  I  am  going  a-wooing,  but  I  cannot  find  a  bride." 

"  Come  with  me  ;  I  will  take  you  where  you  may  find 
one." 

So  they  journeyed  together  till  they  came  to  a  great 
heavy  stone  ;  and  the  dragon  said  to  him  :  "  Lift  that 
stone  ^  off,  then  you  will  find  what  you  are  seeking." 
And  Egorushko  endeavoured  to  lift  the  stone  away,  but 
he  failed.  Then  the  dragon  said :  "  I  have  no  bride 
for  you  here  !  " 

So  Egorushko  went  back  home,  and  he  told  his  father 
and  mother  all  he  had  gone  through.  And  the  parents 
reflected  for  a  long  time.  And  they  at  last  sent  Misha 
Kosolapy  on  the  same  journey.  He  met  the  dragon  after 
many  days,  and  asked  him  to  show  him  how  he  should 
get  a  bride.  The  dragon  bade  him  go  with  him.  And 
they  came  to  the  stone.  Misha  tried  to  lift  it  away,  but 

1  A  bold  flier.  2  Bandy-legged. 

8  Sitting  behind  the  stove. 
Q  225 


226 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


in  vain  ;   so  he  returned  to  his  parents  and  told  them 
all  he  had  gone  through. 

This  time  the  parents  were  at  an  utter  loss  what  they 
should  do.  Ivashko  Zapechnik  could  not  have  any  better 
luck  !  But  still  Ivashko  asked  his  parents'  leave  to  go  to 
the  dragon,  and  after  some  reluctance  he  obtained  it. 

Ivashko  met  the  three-headed  dragon,  who  asked  him  : 
"  Where  are  you  going,  sturdy  youth  ?  " 

"  My  brothers  set  out  to  marry,  but  they  could  find 
no  brides.  It  is  now  my  turn." 

"  Come  with  me  ;   perhaps  you  may  win  a  bride." 

So  the  dragon  and  Ivashko  went  up  to  the  stone,  and 
the  dragon  commanded  him  to  lift  the  stone  up,  and 
Ivashko  thrust  the  stone,  and  it  flew  up  from  its  bed 
like  a  feather,  as  though  it  were  not  there,  and  revealed 
an  aperture  in  the  earth,  with  a  rope  ladder. 

"  Ivashko,"  said  the  dragon,  "  go  down  that  ladder  ; 
and  I  will  let  you  down  into  the  three  kingdoms,  and  in 
each  of  them  you  will  see  a  fair  maiden.v 

So  Ivashko  went  down,  deeper  and  deeper,  right  down 
to  the  realm  of  copper,  where  he  met  a  maiden  who  was 
very  fair. 

"  God  greet  you,  strange  guest  !  Sit  down  where  you 
may  find  room,  and  say  whence  you  come." 

"  Oh,  fair  maiden,  you  have  given  me  nothing  to  eat 
and  drink,  and  you  ask  me  for  my  news  !  " 

So  the  maiden  gave  him  all  manner  of  meat  and  drink 
and  set  them  on  the  table. 

Ivashko  had  a  drink,  and  then  said :  "  I  am  seeking  a 
bride  ;  will  you  marry  me  ?  " 

"  No,  fair  youth  !  go  farther  on  into  the  silver  king- 
dom. There  there  is  a  maiden  who  is  much  fairer  than 
I."  Thereupon  she  gave  him  a  silver  ring. 

So  the  young  boy  thanked  her  for  her  kindness,  saic 
farewell ;    and  he   went   farther   until  he   reached   the 
silver  kingdom.    There  he  saw  a  maiden  who  was  fairer 


REALMS  OF  COPPER,  SILVER  AND  GOLD    227 

yet  than  the  former,  and  he  prayed  and  bowed  down  low. 
"  Good  day,  fair  maiden  !  " 

"  Good  day,  strange  youth  !  Sit  down  and  tell  me 
whence  you  come  and  what  you  seek." 

"  But,  fair  maiden,  you  have  given  me  nothing  to  eat 
or  drink,  and  you  ask  my  news  !  " 

So  the  maiden  put  rich  drink  and  food  on  the  table, 
and  Ivashko  ate  as  much  as  he  would.  Then  he  told  her 
that  he  was  seeking  a  bride,  and  he  asked  her  if  she  would 
be  the  bride.  "  Go  yet  farther  into  the  golden  realm  ; 
there  there  is  a  maiden  who  is  yet  much  fairer  than  I  !  " 
the  girl  said,  and  she  gave  him  a  golden  ring. 

Ivashko  said  farewell,  and  went  yet  farther,  went 
deeper  still,  into  the  golden  realm.  There  he  found  a 
maiden  who  was  much,  very  much  fairer  than  the  others, 
and  there  he  said  the  right  prayer,  and  he  saluted  the 
maiden. 

"  Whither  art  thou  going,  fair  youth ;  and  what  do 
you  seek  ?  " 

"  Fair  maiden,  give  me  to  eat  and  drink,  and  I  will 
tell  you  my  news." 

So  she  got  him  so  fine  a  meal  that  no  better  meal  on 
earth  could  be  wished,  and  she  was  so  fair  that  no  pen 
could  write  and  no  tale  could  tell. 

Ivashko  set  to  valorously,  and  then  he  told  his  tale. 
"  I  am  seeking  a  bride  ;  if  you  will  marry  me,  come  with 
me!" 

So  the  maiden  consented,  and  she  gave  him  a  golden 
ball.  Then  they  went  on  and  on  together,  until  they 
reached  the  silver  realm,  where  they  took  the  maiden 
who  was  there  ;  and  they  went  on  and  on  and  on  from 
there  to  the  copper  realm,  and  took  this  maiden  with 
them  as  well.  And  then  they  came  to  the  hole  through 
which  they  were  to  climb  out.  The  rope  ladder  stood 
all  ready,  and  there  there  stood  the  elder  brothers,  who 
were  looking  for  him.  Ivashko  tied  the  maiden  out  of 


228  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

the  copper  realm  to  the  ladder,  and  the  brothers  lifted 
her  out,  and  they  let  the  ladder  down  again.  Then 
Ivashko  laid  hold  of  the  maiden  from  the  silver  realm, 
and  she  was  drawn  up,  and  the  ladder  let  down  again. 
This  time  the  maiden  from  the  golden  realm  came, 
and  was  also  drawn  up.  When  the  steps  were  let  down 
again,  Ivashko  sat  on  them,  and  the  brothers  drew  it  up 
into  the  height.  But  when  they  saw  that  this  time  it 
was  Ivashko  Zapechnik  who  sat  on  it,  they  began  to 
reflect :  "  If  we  let  him  out  perhaps  he  will  not  give  us 
any  of  the  maidens."  So  they  cut  the  steps  down,  and 
Ivashko  fell  down.  He  wept  bitterly,  but  it  was  no  good. 
He  went  down  farther,  and  he  then  came  across  a  tiny 
old  man,  who  sat  on  a  tree-stem  and  had  a  long  white 
beard.  Ivashko  told  him  how  it  had  been. 

The  old  man  advised  him  once  more  to  go  on.  "  You 
will  come  to  a  little  hut.  Enter  it  and  you  will  see  a 
long  man  lying  in  it  from  one  corner  to  the  other.  Ask 
him  how  you  shall  reach  Russian  land  once  more." 

So  Ivashko  went  up  to  the  hut,  stepped  in  and  said : 
"  Strong  giant,1  spare  me,  and  tell  me  how  I  shall  get 
home  again." 

"  Fi,  fo,  fum,  you  Russian  bones  !  "  said  Idolishche,  "  I 
did  not  summon  you,  and  still  you  have  come.  Go  to 
the  thrice-tenth  sea,  there  there  stands  a  hut  on  cocks' 
legs  in  which  the  Baba  Yaga  lives.  She  has  an  eagle  who 
will  carry  you." 

So  the  young  boy  went  on  and  on,  a  far  way,  to  the 
hut,  and  he  stepped  in. 

The  Baba  Yaga  cried  out  at  once,  "  Fi,  fo,  fum, 
Russian  bones,  why  have  you  come  here  ?  " 

"  Oh,  mother,  the  giant  Idolishche  sent  me  to  ask 
you  to  lend  me  your  mighty  eagle  to  carry  me  to  Russia." 

"  Go,"  said  Baba  Yaga,  "  into  the  garden.  At  the 
gate  there  stands  a  watchman  ;  take  his  keys  and  pass 

1  Idolishche,  i.e.  Big  idol. 


REALMS  OF  COPPER,  SILVER  AND  GOLD    229 

through  seven  doors,  and  when  you  open  the  last  the 
eagle  will  flap  his  wings.  Sit  on  his  back  if  you  are  not 
afraid,  and  fly  away.  But  take  meat  with  you  and  give 
him  to  eat  whenever  he  turns  round." 

Ivashko  did  as  he  was  bidden,  sat  on  the  eagle  and  flew 
away.  The  eagle  flew  on,  flew  on  ;  then  he  soon  turned 
his  head  round,  and  Ivashko  gave  him  a  bite  of  flesh. 
Then  the  eagle  flew  on  afar,  and  turned  round  again, 
and  Ivashko  fed  him.  And  he  fed  him  until  he  had 
nothing  more  left,  and  Russia  was  still  far  off.  Then 
the  eagle  turned  round,  and  as  he  had  no  flesh,  he  tore 
a  fragment  out  of  Ivashko's  withers  and  ate  it  up.  But 
they  had  already  reached  the  aperture.  When  Ivashko 
parted  from  the  eagle,  he  spat  a  bit  of  flesh  out  and  bade 
Ivashko  lay  it  on  him.  And  Ivashko  did  so,  and  his  body 
healed  ;  and  Ivashko  went  home,  took  the  maiden  from 
the  golden  realm  from  his  brothers ;  and  they  then  lived 
happily,  and  may  still  be  living  if  they  are  not  dead. 

I  was  there  and  I  drank  beer  ;  I  drank  the  beer,  and 
it  flowed  up  to  my  whiskers,  but  none  of  it  reached  my 
mouth. 


CHUFlL-FlLYUSHKA 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  were  three  brothers  in  a  family  ; 
the  eldest  was  called  the  Ram,  the  second  the  Goat,  and 
the  third  and  youngest  Chufil-Filyushka.1  One  day  all 
three  went  into  the  forest,  where  the  warder  lived  who 
was  their  real  grandfather.  With  him  Ram  and  Goat 
left  their  own  brother  Chufil-Filyushka,  and  went  out 
into  the  forest  to  hunt.  Filyushka  had  all  his  own  will 
and  way  :  his  grandfather  was  old,  and  a  great  stupid  ; 
and  Filyushka  was  generous.  He  wanted  to  eat  an 
apple.  So  he  eluded  his  grandfather,  got  into  the 
garden,  and  climbed  up  the  apple-tree. 

All  of  a  sudden,  Heaven  knows  where  from,  who 
should  come  but  the  Yaga-Bura,2  with  an  iron  mortar, 
and  a  pestle  in  her  hand  ;  she  leaped  up  to  the  apple- 
tree,  and  said,  "  How  are  you,  Filyushka  ?  What  have 
you  come  here  for  ?  " 

"  Oh,  to  pluck  an  apple  !  "  said  Filyushka. 

"  Well,  then,  dearie,  have  a  bite  of  mine  !  " 

"  No,  it's  a  rotten  one,"  said  Filyushka. 

"  Well,  here's  another  one  !  " 

"  No,  it's  all  wormy  !  " 

"  Don't  be  saucy  ;  just  come  up  and  take  one  out  of 
my  hand." 

He  stretched  out  his  hand.  Then  Yaga-Bura  gripped 
it  tight,  put  him  into  the  mortar,  and  made  off,  leaping 


2  An  equivalent  to  the  Baba  Yaga. 
230 


CHUFf  L-Ff  LYUSHKA  23 1 

over  hills,  and  forests,  and  clefts  ;  and  swiftly  with  the 
pestle  driving  the  mortar. 

Then  Filyushka  remembered  himself,  and  began  to 
cry  out,  "  Goat,  Ram,  come  along  quick.  Yaga  has 
carried  me  away  beyond  the  high,  steep  hills,  the  dark, 
lone  woods,  the  steppes,  where  the  geese  roam." 

The  Ram  and  the  Goat  were  just  then  resting.  One 
was  lying  on  the  ground,  and  heard  a  noise  of  somebody 
shouting.  So  he  told  the  other  one :  "  Come  and  lie 
down,  and  listen  !  " 

"  Oh,  it's  our  Filyushka  crying." 

Off  they  went  and  ran  and  ran,  and  ran  the  Yaga- 
Bura  down,  saved  Filyushka  and  brought  him  home  to 
his  grandfather,  who  had  nearly  gone  out  of  his  mind 
with  fright  !  They  told  him  to  look  after  Filyushka 
better,  and  went  out  again. 

But  Filyushka  was  a  real  boy,  and  the  first  chance  he 
got,  off  he  was  again  to  the  apple-tree,  clambered  up. 
There  was  the  Yaga-Bura  again,  and  offering  him  an 
apple. 

"  No,  you  won't  catch  me  this  time,  you  old  beast  !  " 
said  Filyushka. 

"  Don't  be  unkind — do  just  take  an  apple  from  me  ; 
I'll  throw  it  to  you  !  " 

"  Right :    throw  it  down." 

Then  Yaga  threw  him  down  an  apple :  he  stretched 
out  his  hand,  and  she  clutched  it  and  leapt  over  hills, 
and  valleys,  and  dark  forests,  so  fast  that  it  seemed  like 
a  twinkling  of  an  eye,  got  him  into  her  home,  washed 
him,  went  out  and  put  him  into  the  bunk. 

In  the  morning  she  made  ready  to  go  out,  and  ordered 
her  daughter,  "  Listen  !  heat  the  oven  well,  very  hot, 
and  roast  me  Chufil-Filyushka  for  supper."  And  she 
went  out  to  seek  further  booty. 

The  daughter  went  and  got  the  oven  thoroughly  hot, 
took  out  and  bound  Filyushka,  and  put  him  on  the 


232 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


shovel,  and  was  just  going  to  shove  him  into  the  oven, 
when  he  went  and  knocked  his  forehead  with  his  feet. 

"  That's  not  the  way,  Filyushka,"  said  the  daughter 
of  the  Yaga-Bura. 

"  How  then  ?  "  he  answered.    "  I  don't  understand." 

"  Look  here,  just  let  go  ;  I'll  show  you."  She  wenl 
and  lay  down  on  the  shovel  in  the  right  fashion. 

But,  although  Chufil- Filyushka  was  small,  he  was  no 
fool !  He  stuffed  her  at  once  into  the  oven,  and  shut 
the  oven-door  with  a  bang. 

About  two  or  three  hours  later  Filyushka  smelt  a 
smell  of  good  roast  meat,  opened  the  door,  and  took  out 
the  daughter  of  the  Yaga-Bura  well-cooked  ;  buttered 
it  over,  put  it  into  the  frying-pan  and  covered  it  with 
a  towel,  and  put  it  into  the  bunk ;  then  he  climbed  up 
to  the  roof-tree  and  took  away  the  business-day  pestle 
and  mortar  of  the  Yaga-Bura. 

About  evening-time,  the  Yaga-Bura  came  in,  went 
straight  to  the  bunk  and  took  the  roast  meat  out ;  ate 
it  all  up,  collected  all  the  bones,  laid  them  out  on  the 
ground  in  rows,  and  began  to  roll  on  them.  But  some- 
how she  could  not  find  her  daughter,  and  thought  she 
had  gone  away  to  another  cottage  to  weave.  But  sud- 
denly, whilst  she  was  rolling,  she  said,  "  My  dear  daughter, 
do  come  to  me  and  help  me  roll  Filyushka's  little  bones !  " 

Then  Filyushka  cried  out  from  the  rafters :  "  Roll 
away,  mother,  and  stand  on  your  daughter's  little 
bones !  " 

"  Are  you  there,  you  brigand  !  You  just  wait,  and 
I'll  give  it  you  !  " 

But  little  Chufil  was  not  frightened,  and  when  the 
Yaga-Bura,  gnashing  her  teeth,  stamping  on  the  ground, 
had  got  up  to  the  ceiling,  he  just  got  hold  of  the  pestle 
and  with  all  his  might  struck  her  on  the  forehead,  and 
down  she  flopped.  Then  Filyushka  climbed  up  on  to 
the  roof,  and  saw  some  geese  flying,  and  called  out  to 


CHUFlL-FlLYUSHKA  233 

them,  "  Lend  me  your  wings ;  I  want  wings  to  carry 
me  home." 

They  lent  him  their  wings,  and  he  flew  home. 

But  they  had  long,  long  ago  been  praying  for  the 
repose  of  his  soul  at  home,  and  how  glad  they  were  to 
see  him  turn  up  alive  and  sound  !  So  they  changed  the 
requiem  for  a  merry  festival,  and  lived  out  their  lives, 
and  lived  on  to  receive  more  good  yet  ! 


DONOTKNOW 

HERE  begins  the  tale  of  a  grey  horse,  a  chestnut  horse 
and  of  the  wise  fallow-bay.  On  the  shore  of  the  ocean, 
in  the  isle  of  Buyan,  there  stood  a  roasted  ox,  and  behind 
pounded  garlic :  on  the  one  side  cut  your  meat,  on  the 
other  dip  deep  and  eat. 

Once  upon  a  time  there  lived  a  merchant  who  had  a 
son,  and  when  the  son  grew  up  he  was  taken  into  the 
shop.  Now,  the  first  wife  of  the  merchant  died,  and  he 
married  a  second. 

After  some  months  the  merchant  made  ready  to  sail 
to  foreign  lands,  and  he  loaded  his  ship  with  goods  and 
he  bade  his  son  look  after  the  house  well  and  attend  to 
business  duly. 

Then  the  merchant's  son  asked,  "  Bdtyushka^  when 
you  go,  get  me  my  luck  !  " 

"  My  beloved  son,"  answered  the  old  man,  "  where 
shall  I  find  it  ?  " 

"  It  is  not  far  to  seek,  my  luck.  When  you  get  up  to- 
morrow morning,  stand  at  the  gates  and  buy  the  first 
thing  that  meets  you  and  give  it  to  me." 

"  Very  well,  my  son." 

So  next  day  the  father  got  up  very  early,  stood  out- 
side the  gates,  and  the  first  thing  that  met  him  was 
a  peasant  who  was  selling  a  sorry,  scabby  foal — mere 
dog's  meat.  So  the  merchant  bargained  for  it  and  got 
it  for  a  silver  rouble,  took  the  foal  into  the  courtyard 
and  put  it  into  the  stable. 

1  Father. 

234 


DONOTKNOW  235 

Then  the  merchant's  son  asked  him,  "  Well,  bdt- 
yusbka,  what  have  you  found  as  my  luck  ?  " 

"  I  went  out  to  find  it,  and  it  turned  into  a  very  poor 
thing." 

"  Well,  so  it  really  had  to  be :  whatever  luck  the 
Lord  has  given  us  we  must  use." 

Then  the  father  set  sail  with  his  goods  into  foreign 
lands,  and  the  son  sat  on  the  counter  and  engaged  in 
trade.  He  grew  into  the  habit,  whether  he  were  going 
into  the  shop  or  returning  home,  always  to  go  and 
stand  in  front  of  his  foal. 

Now,  his  stepmother  did  not  love  her  stepson,  and 
looked  out  for  fortune-tellers  to  learn  how  to  get  rid 
of  him.  At  last  she  found  an  old  wise  woman,  who 
gave  her  a  poison  and  bade  her  put  it  under  the  threshold 
just  when  her  stepson  was  coming  in.  As  he  came  back 
from  the  shop,  the  merchant's  son  went  into  the  stable 
and  saw  that  his  foal  was  standing  in  tears,  and  so  he 
stroked  him  and  asked,  "  Why,  my  good  horse,  do  you 
weep  ?  Why  your  counsel  do  you  keep  ?  " 

Then  the  foal  answered,  "  Oh,  Ivan  the  merchant's 
son,  my  beloved  master,  why  should  I  not  weep  ?  Your 
stepmother  is  trying  to  ruin  you.  You  have  a  dog : 
when  you  go  home  let  it  go  in  front  of  you,  and  you  will 
see  what  will  come  to  it." 

So  the  merchant's  son  listened,  and  as  soon  as  ever 
the  dog  crossed  the  threshold  it  was  torn  into  small 
atoms. 

Ivan  the  merchant's  son  never  let  his  stepmother 
know  that  he  saw  through  her  spite,  and  set  out  next  day 
to  the  shop,  whilst  the  stepmother  went  to  see  the 
soothsayer.  So  the  old  woman  got  a  second  poison,  and 
bade  her  put  it  into  the  trough.  In  the  evening,  as  he 
went  home,  the  merchant's  son  went  into  the  stable  ; 
and  once  more  the  foal  was  standing  on  tip-toes  and  in 
tears ;  and  he  struck  him  on  the  haunches  and  said, 


236  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Why,  my  good  horse,  do  you  weep  ?  Why  your 
counsel  do  you  keep  ?  " 

Then  the  foal  answered,  "  Why  should  I  not  weep, 
my  master,  Ivan  the  merchant's  son  ?  I  hear  a  very 
great  misfortune — that  your  stepmother  wishes  to  ruin 
you.  Look  when  you  go  into  the  room  and  sit  down 
at  the  table :  your  mother  will  bring  you  a  draught  in 
the  glass.  Do  you  not  drink  it,  but  pour  it  out  of  the 
window :  you  will  yourself  see  what  will  happen  out- 
side." 

Ivan  the  merchant's  son  did  as  he  was  bidden  and  as 
soon  as  ever  he  had  thrown  the  draught  out  of  the 
window  it  began  to  rend  the  earth ;  and  again  he  never 
said  a  single  word  to  his  stepmother  ;  so  she  still  thought 
that  he  was  in  the  dark. 

On  the  third  day  he  went  to  the  shop,  and  the  step- 
mother again  went  to  the  soothsayer.  The  old  woman 
gave  her  an  enchanted  shirt.  In  the  evening,  as  he  was 
going  out  of  the  shop,  the  merchant's  son  went  up  to 
the  foal,  and  he  saw  that  there  stood  his  good  horse  on 
tip-toes  and  in  tears.  So  he  struck  him  by  the  bridle 
and  said,  "  Why  do  you  weep,  my  good  horse  ?  Why 
your  counsel  do  you  keep  ?  ': 

Then  the  foal  answered  him,  "  Why  should  I  not 
weep  ?  Do  I  not  know  that  your  stepmother  is  wishing 
to  destroy  you  ?  Listen  to  what  I  say.  When  you  go 
home  your  stepmother  will  send  you  to  the  bath,  and 
she  will  send  the  boy  to  you  with  a  shirt.  Do  not  put 
on  the  shirt  yourself,  but  put  it  on  the  boy,  and  you  will 
see  yourself  what  will  come  of  it." 

So  the  merchant's  son  went  up  to  his  attic,  and  his 
stepmother  came  and  said  to  him,  "  Would  you  not  like 
to  have  a  steam  bath  ?  The  bath  is  now  ready." 

"  Very  well,"  said  Ivan,  and  he  went  into  the  bath, 
and  very  soon  after  the  boy  brought  him  a  shirt.  As 
soon  as  ever  the  merchant's  son  put  it  on  the  boy  he  that 


DONOTKNOW  237 

very  instant  closed  his  eyes  and  fell  on  the  floor,  as  though 
he  were  dead.  And  when  he  took  the  shirt  off  him 
and  cast  it  into  the  stove,  the  boy  revived,  but  the  stove 
was  split  into  small  pieces. 

The  stepmother  saw  that  she  was  doing  no  good,  so 
she  again  went  to  the  old  soothsayer  and  asked  and 
besought  her  how  she  should  destroy  her  stepson.  The 
old  woman  answered,  "  As  long  as  the  horse  is  alive 
nothing  can  be  brought  about.  But  you  pretend  to  be 
ill,  and  when  your  husband  comes  back  tell  him,  '  I  saw 
in  my  sleep  that  the  throat  of  our  foal  must  be  cut  and 
the  liver  extracted,  and  I  must  be  rubbed  with  the  liver  ; 
then  my  disease  will  pass  away.'  ' 

Some  time  after  the  merchant  came  back,  and  the 
son  went  out  to  meet  him. 

"  Hail,  my  son  !  "  said  the  father.  "  Is  all  well  with 
you  at  home  ?  " 

"  All  is  well,  only  mother  is  ill,"  he  answered. 

So  the  merchant  unloaded  his  wares  and  went  home, 
and  he  found  his  wife  lying  in  the  bedclothes  groaning, 
saying,  "  I  can  only  recover  if  you  will  fulfil  my  dream." 

So  the  merchant  agreed  at  once,  summoned  his  son 
and  said,  "  Now,  my  son,  I  want  to  cut  the  throat  of 
your  horse :  your  mother  is  ill,  and  I  must  cure  her." 

So  Ivan  the  merchant's  son  wept  bitterly  and  said, 

Oh,  father,  you  wish  to  take  away  from  me  my  last 
luck  !  "  Then  he  went  into  the  stable. 

The  foal  saw  him  and  said,  "  My  beloved  master,  I 
have  saved  you  from  three  deaths — do  you  now  save 
me  from  one.  Ask  your  father  that  you  may  go  out  on 
my  back  for  the  last  time  to  fare  in  the  open  fields  with 
your  companions." 

So  the  son  asked  his  father  for  leave  to  go  into  the 
open  field  for  the  last  time  on  the  horse,  and  the  father 
agreed.  Ivan  the  merchant's  son  mounted  his  horse, 
leapt  into  the  open  field,  and  went  and  diverted  himself 


238  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

with  his  friends  and  companions.  Then  he  sent  his 
father  a  letter  in  this  wise :  "  Do  you  cure  my  step- 
mother with  a  twelve-tongued  whip — this  is  the  best 
means  of  curing  her  illness."  He  sent  this  letter  with 
one  of  his  good  companions,  and  himself  went  into 
foreign  lands. 

The  merchant  read  the  letter,  and  began  curing 
his  wife  with  a  twelve-tongued  whip  :  and  she  very  soon 
recovered. 

The  merchant's  son  went  out  into  the  open  field,  into 
the  wide  plains,  and  he  saw  horned  cattle  grazing  in 
front  of  him. 

So  the  good  horse  said,  "  Ivan  the  merchant's  son,  let 
me  go  free  at  will,  and  do  you  pull  three  little  hairs  out 
of  my  tail :  whenever  I  can  be  of  service  to  you  burn  a 
single  hair,  and  I  shall  appear  at  once  in  front  of  you,  like 
a  leaf  in  front  of  the  grass.  But  you,  good  youth,  go  to 
the  herd,  buy  a  bull  and  cut  its  throat ;  dress  yourself  in 
the  bull's  hide,  put  a  bladder  on  your  head,  and  wherever 
you  go,  whatever  you  are  asked  about,  answer  only  this 
one  word,  '  Idonotknow.' ' 

Ivan  the  merchant's  son  let  his  horse  go  free,  dressed 
himself  in  the  bull's  hide,  put  a  bladder  on  his  head, 
and  went  beyond  the  seas.  On  the  blue  sea  there  was 
a  ship  a-sailing.  The  ship's  crew  saw  this  marvel — an 
animal  which  was  not  an  animal,  a  man  that  was  not  a 
man,  with  a  bladder  on  his  head  and  with  fur  all  round 
him.  So  they  sailed  up  to  the  shore  in  a  light  boat  and 
began  to  ask  him  and  to  inquire  of  him.  Ivan  the  mer 
chant's  son  only  returned  one  answer,  "  Idonotknow." 

"  If  it  be  so,  then  your  name  must  be  '  Donotknow.' ' 
Then  the  ship's  crew  took  him,  carried  him  on  boarc 
the  boat,  and  they  sailed  to  their  King. 

May-be  long,  may-be  short,  they  at  last  reached  a 
capital  city,  went  to  the  King  with  gifts,  and  informed 
him  of  Donotknow,  So  the  King  bade  the  portent  be 


DONOTKNOW  239 

presented  before  his  eyes.  So  they  brought  Donotknow 
into  the  palace,  and  the  people  came  up  from  all  parts, 
seen  and  unseen,  to  gaze  on  him. 

Then  the  King  began  to  ask  him,  "  What  sort  of  a 
man  are  you  ?  " 

"  Idonotknow." 

"  From  what  lands  have  you  come  ?  " 

"  Idonotknow." 

"  From  what  race  and  from  what  place  ?  " 

"  Idonotknow." 

Then  the  King  put  Donotknow  into  the  garden  as  a 
scarecrow,  to  frighten  the  birds  from  the  apple  trees, 
and  he  bade  him  be  fed  from  his  royal  kitchen. 

Now  this  king  had  three  daughters :  the  elder  ones 
were  beautiful,  but  the  younger  fairer  still.  Very  soon 
the  son  of  the  King  of  the  Arabs  began  asking  for  the 
hand  of  the  youngest  daughter,  and  he  wrote  to  the 
King  with  threats  such  as  this,  "  If  you  do  not  give  her 
to  me  of  your  good  will,  I  will  take  her  by  force." 

This  did  not  suit  the  King  at  all,  so  he  answered  the 
Arab  prince  in  this  wise,  "  Do  you  begin  the  war,  and 
it  shall  go  as  God  shall  will." 

So  the  Prince  assembled  a  countless  multitude  and  laid 
siege. 

Donotknow  shook  off  his  oxhide,  took  off  his  bladder, 
went  into  the  open  fields,  burnt  one  of  the  hairs,  and 
cried  out  in  a  grim  voice  with  a  knightly  whistle.  From 
some  source  or  other  a  wondrous  horse  appeared  in 
front  of  him,  and  the  steed  galloped  up,  and  the  earth 
trembled.  "  Hail,  doughty  youth,  why  do  you  want 
me  so  speedily  ?  " 

"  Go  and  prepare  for  war  !  " 

So  Donotknow  sat  on  his  good  horse,  and  the  horse 
asked  him,  "  Where  shall  I  carry  you — aloft,  under  the 
trees,  or  over  the  standing  woods  ?  " 

"  Carry  me  over  the  standing  woods." 


240  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

So  the  horse  raised  himself  from  the  earth  and  flew 
over  the  hostile  host.  Then  Donotknow  leapt  upon  the 
enemies,  seized  a  warlike  sword  from  one  of  them,  tore 
a  golden  helmet  from  another  of  them,  and  put  them  on 
himself  ;  covered  his  face  with  the  visor,  and  set  to 
slaying  the  Arab  host.  Wherever  he  turned,  heads  flew  : 
it  was  like  mowing  hay.  The  King  and  the  Princess 
looked  on  in  amazement  from  the  city  wall :  "  What 
a  mighty  hero  it  must  be  !  Whence  has  he  come  ?  Is 
it  Egori  the  Brave  who  has  come  to  help  us  ?  " 

But  they  never  imagined  that  it  was  Donotknow 
whom  the  King  had  set  in  the  garden  as  a  scarecrow. 
Donotknow  slew  many  of  that  host,  and  even  more  than 
he  slew  his  horse  trampled  down,  and  he  left  only  the 
Arab  Prince  alive  and  ten  men  as  a  suite  to  see  him  home. 
After  this  great  combat  he  rode  back  to  the  town  wall 
and  said,  "  Your  kingly  Majesty,  has  my  service  pleased 
you  ?  "  Then  the  King  thanked  him  and  asked  him  in 
as  a  guest.  But  Donotknow  would  not  come.  He  leapt 
into  the  open  field,  sent  away  his  good  horse,  turned 
back  home,  put  on  the  bladder  and  the  bull's  hide,  and 
began  to  walk  about  in  the  garden,  as  before,  just  like  a 
scarecrow. 

Some  time  went  by,  not  too  much,  not  too  little,  and 
the  Arab  Prince  again  wrote  to  the  King,  "  If  you  do 
not  give  me  your  youngest  daughter's  hand  I  will  burn 
up  all  your  kingdom  and  will  take  her  prisoner." 

This  also  did  not  please  the  King,  and  so  he  wrote  in 
answer  that  he  would  await  him  with  his  host.     Once   ; 
again  the  Arab  Prince  collected  a  countless  host,  larger 
than  before,  and  he  besieged  the  King  from  all  sides, 
having  three  mighty  knights  standing  in  front. 

Donotknow  learned  of  this,  shook  off  the  bull's  hide, 
took  off  the  bladder,  summoned  his  good  horse,  and  leapt 
to  the  field.  One  knight  came  to  meet  him.  They  met 
in  combat,  greeted  each  other  and  set  at  each  other  with 


DONOTKNOW  241 

their  lances.  The  knight  struck  Donotknow  so  doughtily 
that  he  could  hardly  hold  on  by  one  stirrup.  Then  he 
got  up,  flew  like  a  youth,  struck  off  the  knight's  head, 
seized  him,  and  threw  him  over,  saying,  "  This  is  how 
all  of  your  heads  shall  fly."  Then  another  knight  came 
out,  and  it  happened  likewise  with  him  ;  and  a  third 
came,  and  Donotknow  fought  with  him  for  one  whole 
hour.  The  knight  cut  his  hand  and  drew  blood,  but 
Donotknow  cut  off  his  head  and  threw  it  with  the  rest. 
Then  all  of  the  Arab  host  trembled  and  turned  back.  Just 
then  the  King,  with  the  Princesses,  was  standing  on  the 
town  wall ;  and  the  youngest  Princess  saw  that  blood  was 
flowing  from  the  valiant  champion's  hand,  took  a  ker- 
chief off  her  neck  and  bound  up  the  wound  herself  ; 
and  the  King  summoned  him  as  a  guest.  "  I  will  come 
one  day,"  said  Donotknow,  "  but  not  this  time."  So 
he  leapt  into  the  open  field,  dismissed  his  horse,  dressed 
himself  in  his  oxhide,  put  the  bladder  on  his  head,  and 
began  walking  up  and  down  the  garden  like  a  scarecrow. 

Some  time  went  by,  not  much,  not  little,  and  the 
King  gave  his  two  elder  daughters  away  to  famous 
Tsarevichi.  He  was  making  ready  for  a  great  celebra- 
tion, and  the  guests  came  to  walk  in  the  garden  ;  and 
they  saw  Donotknow  and  asked,  "  What  sort  of  a  monster 
is  this  ?  ?' 

So  the  King  said,  "  This  is  Donotknow :  I  am  using 
him  as  a  scarecrow :  he  keeps  the  birds  off  my  apple 
trees." 

But  the  youngest  daughter  looked  at  Donotknow's 
hand  and  observed  her  kerchief  on  it,  blushed  and  never 
said  a  word.  From  that  time  she  began  to  walk  into  the 
garden  and  to  gaze  on  Donotknow,  and  became  thought- 
ful, never  giving  heed  to  the  festivals  and  to  the  merri- 
ment. 

"  Where  are  you  always  going,  my  daughter  ?  "  asked 
her  father. 


242  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Oh,  father,  I  have  lived  so  many  years  with  you,  I 
have  so  often  walked  in  the  garden,  and  I  have  never  seen 
such  a  delightful  bird  as  I  saw  there  just  now  !  " 

Then  she  began  to  ask  her  father  to  give  her  his 
blessing  and  to  wed  her  to  Donotknow.  And  for  all 
the  father  might  do  to  convince  her,  she  insisted.  "  If 
you  will  not  give  me  to  him,  I  will  remain  unmarried  all 
my  life  and  will  seek  no  other  man."  So  the  father 
agreed  and  he  betrothed  them. 

Soon  afterwards  the  Arab  Prince  wrote  to  him  for 
the  third  time  and  asked  for  the  hand  of  his  youngest 
daughter.  "  If  you  will  not  consent,  I  will  consume  all 
of  your  kingdom  with  fire,  and  I  will  take  her  by  main 
force." 

Then  the  King  answered,  "  My  daughter  is  already 
promised :  if  you  wish,  come  yourself  and  you  will  see. 
So  the  Prince  came,  and  when  he  saw  what  a  monster 
was  betrothed  to  the  fair  Princess  he  thought  he  would 
slay  Donotknow,  and  he  summoned  him  to  mortal 
combat. 

Donotknow  shook  off  his  oxhide,  took  the  bladder 
from  his  head,  summoned  his  good  horse  and  rode  out, 
so  fair  a  youth  as  no  tale  can  tell  and  no  pen  can  write.  ' 

They  met  in  the  open  field,  in  the  wide  plains,  and  the 
list  lasted  long.  Ivan  the  merchant's  son  killed  the  Arab 
Prince.  Then  at  last  the  King  recognised  that  Donot- 
know was  not  a  monster  but  a  splendid  and  handsome 
knight,  and  he  made  him  his  heir.  Ivan  the  merchant's 
son  lived  on  in  his  kingdom  -for  good  and  lived  all  for 
happiness,  took  his  own  father  to  stay  with  him,  but  con- 
signed his  stepmother  to  punishment. 


THE  SEA  TSAR  AND  VASILlSA  THE  WISE 

ONCE  a  Tsar  lived  with  his  Tsaritsa  beyond  thrice-nine 
lands  in  the  thrice-tenth  kingdom.  He  liked  to  go 
hunting  and  shooting  the  wild  beasts.  One  day  the 
Tsar  went  out  hunting,  and  saw  a  young  eagle  sitting 
on  an  oak ;  and  he  was  just  going  to  shoot  him  down, 
when  .the  eagle  begged  him,  "  Do  not  shoot  me,  Tsar 
my  master,  rather  take  me  to  yourself ;  and  at  some 
time  or  other  I  shall  be  of  service  to  you."  And  the 
Tsar  thought  and  thought,  and  he  said,  "  How  can  you 
be  of  any  service  to  me  ?  "  And  again  he  wanted  to 
shoot  him.  And  the  eagle  said  to  him  a  second  time, 
"  Do  not  shoot,  Tsar  my  master,  rather  take  me  to 
yourself ;  and  some  day  I  shall  be  of  service  to  you." 
And  the  Tsar  thought  and  thought,  and  again  he  could 
not  imagine  whatever  service  the  eagle  would  be  to 
him,  and  he  still  wanted  to  shoot  him.  So  for  the  third 
time  the  eagle  spoke  to  him,  "  Do  not  shoot  me,  Tsar 
my  master,  rather  take  me  to  yourself,  and  feed  me  for 
three  years ;  and  at  some  time  I  shall  be  of  service  to  you." 

So  the  Tsar  was  mollified,  and  took  the  eagle  to  himself, 
and  he  fed  him  one  year  and  another  year,  and  the  eagle 
ate  up  so  much,  ate  up  all  the  cattle  ;  and  the  Tsar 
had  neither  a  sheep  nor  a  cow  left. 

Then  the  eagle  said  to  him,  "  Let  me  go  free."  And 
the  eagle  tried  his  wings,  but  no,  he  could  not  fly  ;  and 
he  asked  him,  "  Now,  Tsar  my  master,  you  have  fed 
me  for  two  years,  even  as  you  said  ;  now  feed  me  one 
year  more.  Only  go  on  and  feed  me,  and  you  will  not 
lose." 

243 


244  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

So  the  Tsar  did  this. 

"  Go  and  hire  cattle  and  feed  me  ;  you  will  not  lose." 

So  the  Tsar  did  this.  From  all  countries  round  he 
went  and  hired  cattle,  and  every  one  helped  him  to 
feed  the  eagle.  And  afterwards  he  let  him  go  free  at 
his  own  will. 

Then  the  eagle  rose  higher  and  higher,  and  he  flew 
and  flew,  and  then  he  came  down  to  earth  and  said, 
"  Now,  Tsar  my  master,  come  and  sit  on  me :  we  will 
fly  together." 

So  the  Tsar  sat  on  the  eagle  and  they  flew  on  and  on. 
Maybe  much  time  went  by,  maybe  little,  but  they  at 
last  flew  to  the  border  of  the  blue  sea.  Then  the  eagle 
shook  the  Tsar  off  himself,  and  he  fell  into  the  sea,  and 
he  was  wetted  up  to  his  knees,  only  the  eagle  did  not 
let  him  drown,  but  supported  him  on  his  wing,  and 
asked,  "  Why,  Tsar  my  lord,  why  are  you  frightened  ?  " 

"  I  was  frightened,"  said  the  Tsar,  "  lest  I  should  be 
drowned." 

And  so  once  more  they  flew  on,  until  they  came  to 
another  sea.  And  the  eagle  shook  the  Tsar  off  into  the 
middle  of  the  sea,  and  the  Tsar  was  wetted  up  to  his 
waist,  but  the  eagle  supported  him  by  his  wing  and 
asked  him,  "  Why,  Tsar  my  master,  why  are  you 
frightened  ?  " 

"  I  was  frightened,"  said  the  Tsar,  "  and  I  was 
thinking,  it  may  be  you  are  never  going  to  drag  me 
out." 

And  again  they  flew  on,  and  they  arrived  at  the  third 
sea,  and  the  eagle  threw  the  Tsar  into  the  great  depths, 
and  he  was  immersed  in  the  water  up  to  his  very  neck. 
Again,  the  third  time  the  eagle  held  him  by  the  wing 
and  asked  him,  "  Why,  Tsar  my  master,  why  are  you 
frightened  ?  " 

"  I  was,"  said  the  Tsar,  "  I  was  thinking  if  only  you 
would  rescue  me  !  " 


THE  SEA  TSAR  AND  VASILlSA  THE  WISE    245 

"  Now,  Tsar  my  master,  you  have  learned  the  fear 
of  death.  All  this  shall  be  for  you  in  the  past,  and  shall 
be  an  old  tale.  You  may  recollect  how  I  was  sitting  on 
the  oak  and  you  wished  to  kill  me.  Three  times  you 
took  up  your  gun  to  shoot  me,  but  I  asked  you  to  spare 
me  ;  and  I  was  thinking  in  my  mind,  may  you  not  destroy 
me  but  have  pity  and  take  me  to  yourself  !  " 

So  he  then  flew  across  thrice-nine  lands,  for  a  very 
long  flight.  And  the  eagle  said,  "  Come  and  see,  Tsar 
my  master,  what  is  over  us  and  what  is  under  us." 

And  the  Tsar  looked :  "  Over  us,"  he  said,  "  is  the 
sky,  and  under  us  the  earth." 

"  Look  once  more :  what  is  there  on  the  left  and 
right-hand  sides  ?  " 

"  On  the  right-hand  side  there  is  an  open  field  and 
on  the  left-hand  side  there  is  a  house." 

"  We  will  fly  there,"  said  the  eagle  ;  "  there  my 
youngest  sister  lives." 

So  they  flew  straight  to  the  courtyard,  and  the  sister 
came  to  meet  them  and  received  her  brother,  seated 
him  on  an  oaken  table  ;  but  she  would  not  look  on  the 
Tsar — she  left  him  outside  in  the  courtyard  and  she 
let  the  fleet  dogs  out  to  feed  on  him. 

But  the  eagle  was  very  angry,  and  he  leaped  up  from 
Ithe  table,  laid  hold  on  the  Tsar  and  flew,  yet  farther. 
I  So  they  flew  and  flew,  and  the  eagle  said  to  the  Tsar, 
"  Look,  what  is  there  behind  us  ?  " 

So  the  Tsar  turned  round  and  looked,  and  said, 
'"  Behind  us  there  is  a  beauteous  house." 

Then  the  eagle  said  to  him,  "It  is  the  house  of  my 
roungest  sister  that  glitters :  she  would  not  receive  you, 
>ut  gave  you  for  food  to  the  fleet  hounds." 

So  they  flew  and  flew  on,  and  the  eagle  asked  him 
igain,  "  Look,  Tsar  my  master,  what  is  there  over  us, 

id  what  under  us  ?  " 

"  Over  us  the  sky  and  under  us  the  earth." 


246  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Look,  what  is  there  on  the  right-hand,  and  what  is 
there  on  the  left  ?  " 

"  On  the  right-hand  side  there  is  the  open  field,  and 
on  the  left-hand  side  there  stands  a  house." 

"  There  my  younger  sister  lives ;  we  will  fly  there 
and  be  her  guests." 

So  they  came  down  to  the  open  courtyard,  and  the 
younger  sister  came  and  received  her  brother,  and  she 
seated  him  on  an  oaken  stool,  but  she  left  the  Tsar  in 
the  courtyard,  and  she  released  the  fleet  hounds  on  him. 

And  the  eagle  was  angry,  leaped  up  from  the  table, 
laid  hold  on  the  Tsar  and  flew  with  him  yet  farther  ; 
and  they  flew  on  and  on,  and  the  eagle  said  to  the  Tsar, 
"  Look,  what  is  there  behind  us  ?  " 

"  Behind  us  there  is  a  beauteous  house." 

"  It  is  the  house  of  my  younger  sister  that  glitters," 
said  the  eagle.  "  Now  we  will  fly  where  my  mother  and 
eldest  sister  live." 

So  they  flew  thither,  and  the  mother  and  eldest 
sister  were  ever  so  glad  to  see  them,  and  they  received 
the  Tsar  with  honour  and  affection. 

"  Now,  Tsar  my  master,"  said  the  eagle,  "  come  and 
rest  with  us,  and  afterwards  I  will  give  you  a  ship,  and 
I  will  repay  you  all  I  ate  up  whilst  I  was  with  you  ;  and 
go  home  with  God's  aid."  So  he  gave  the  Tsar  a  ship 
and  two  coffers,  one  was  red  and  the  other  green.  And 
he  said,  "  Take  heed,  do  not  open  the  coffers  until  you 
reach  home :  open  the  red  coffer  in  the  back  courtyard 
and  the  green  coffer  in  the  front  courtyard." 

So  the  Tsar  took  the  two  coffers,  bade  farewell  to  the 
eagle,  and  went  on  the  blue  sea :  and  he  went  on  and 
he  arrived  at  an  island,  where  the  ship  stopped.  He  got 
out  on  the  shore,  and  he  remembered  the  two  coffers, 
and  began  to  wonder  what  was  in  them,  and  why  the 
eagle  had  bidden  him  not  to  open  them  ;  and  he  thought 
and  thought,  and  his  patience  gave  way.  He  so  badly 


THE  SEA  TSAR  AND  VASILlSA  THE  WISE    247 

wanted  to  know,  and  so  he  took  the  red  coffer,  put  it  on 
the  ground  and  opened  it,  and  out  of  it  all  sorts  of  cattle 
came  out,  so  many  that  the  eye  could  not  count,  and 
they  almost  filled  the  entire  island.  When  the  Tsar 
saw  this  he  was  grieved,  and  began  to  weep  and  say, 
'  Whatever  shall  I  do  now  ?  how  shall  I  collect  all  of 
this  herd  into  such  a  tiny  coffer  ?  " 

And  then  he  saw  that  out  of  the  water  came  a  man, 
who  went  up  to  him  and  asked  him,  "  Why  are  you 
weeping  so  bitterly,  Tsar  my  master  ?  " 

'  Why  should  I  not  weep  ?  "  answered  the  Tsar. 
"  How  can  I  put  all  this  great  herd  into  this  tiny  coffer  ?  " 

"  If  you  will  I  can  aid  you  in  your  trouble  ;  I  will 
collect  all  this  herd,  only  on  condition  that  you  give  me 
what  you  do  not  know  of  at  home." 

So  the  Tsar  began  to  ponder,  "  What  do  I  not  know 
of  at  home  ?  It  seems  to  me  that  I  know  of  everything." 
So  he  thought,  and  he  considered  it,  and  he  said,  "  Go 
and  collect  them  together,  and  I  will  give  you  what  I 
do  not  know  of  at  home." 

Then  the  man  collected  all  of  the  cattle  into  the 
box,  and  the  Tsar  went  on  board  and  sailed  on  his  own 
journey. 

When  he  reached  home  he  saw  that  a  son  had  been 
born  to  him,  the  Tsarevich,  and  he  began  to  kiss  him 
and  to  fondle  him.  But  then  he  began  to  weep  bitter 
tears. 

"  Tsar  my  master,"  said  the  Tsaritsa,  "  why  do  you 
weep  such  bitter  tears  ?  " 

"  Out  of  joy,"  he  said  ;  for  he  feared  to  tell  her  the 
truth  that  he  must  give  up  the  Tsarevich. 

So  then  he  went  into  the  courtyard  and  opened  the 
red  coffer,  and  out  of  it  oxen  and  kine,  sheep  and  rams, 
came  out.  There  was  a  multitude  of  all  sorts  of  cattle. 
All  the  barns  and  the  folds  were  full.  He  then  came 
to  the  forecourt  and  he  opened  the  green  coffer,  and 


248  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

in  front  of  him  a  wonderful  garden  spread  out  with 
every  kind  of  tree  in  it,  and  the  Tsar  was  so  joyous, 
and  forgot  to  give  his  son  up. 

Many  years  went  by :  one  day  the  Tsar  wanted  to 
take  a  walk,  and  he  went  to  the  river  ;  and  just  then 
that  same  man  peered  up  out  of  the  water  and  said : 
"  You  are  a  very  forgetful  person,  Tsar  my  master : 
you  should  recollect  your  debts." 

Then  the  Tsar  went  home  with  grief  in  his  groaning 
heart,  and  he  told  the  Tsaritsa  and  the  Tsarevich  all 
the  real  truth,  and  they  were  afflicted  ;  and  they  all 
wept  together  and  resolved  that  something  must  be 
done,  and  that  they  must  give  up  the  Tsarevich.  So 
they  took  him  to  the  seashore  and  left  him  by  himself. 

And  the  Tsarevich  looked  round,  and  he  saw  a  path, 
went  on  it,  trusting  God  might  lead  him  aright.  So  he 
went  on  and  on,  and  he  lost  his  way  in  the  slumberous 
forest,  and  he  saw  a  little  izba x  in  the  forest,  and  in  the 
izba1  there  lived  the  Baba  Yaga.  "  I  will  go  in,"  thought 
the  Tsarevich,  and  he  went  into  the  izba.1 

"  Good-day,  Tsarevich,"  said  Baba  Yaga : 

"  Is  it  work  on  your  way, 
Or  for  sloth  do  you  stray  ?  " 

"  Hey,  babushka,  give  me  food  and  drink,  and  ask  me 
afterwards." 

So  she  then  gave  him  food  and  drink,  and  the  Tsarevich 
told  her  all  his  sorrow  without  any  concealment — whither 
he  was  going  and  why. 

Then  Baba  Yaga  said  to  him,  "  Go,  my  child,  to  the 
sea  ;  there  you  will  find  twelve  spoonbills  flying  in  the 
air,  they  will  turn  into  fair  maidens,  who  will  bathe. 
You  go  and  hide  yourself,  and  seize  the  shirt  of  the 
eldest  maiden.  When  you  have  made  friends  with  her, 
go  to  the  Sea  Tsar." 

1  Hut. 


THE  SEA  TSAR  AND  VASILlSA  THE  WISE    249 

The  Tsarevich  bade  farewell  to  Baba  Yaga,  went  to 
the  spot  she  named  on  the  seashore,  and  he  hid  himself 
behind  the  bushes.  Then  twelve  spoonbills  flew  along, 
struck  the  grey  earth,  and  turned  into  fair  maidens, 
who  began  bathing.  The  Tsarevich  stole  the  maiden's 
shirt,  sat  behind  the  bush,  and  never  stirred.  The 
maidens  came  out  of  the  sea  and  went  on  shore  :  eleven 
of  them  struck  the  earth,  turned  into  birds  and  flew 
home :  one  was  left  alone,  the  eldest — Vasilisa  the  Wise. 
And  when  she  saw  that  her  sisters  flew  away  she  said, 
"  Do  not  seek  me,  my  dear  sisters,  but  fly  home.  I  am 
myself  to  blame  ;  it  is  all  my  own  fault ;  I  did  not 
look,  and  I  must  pay  the  cost."  So  the  sisters,  the  fair 
maidens,  struck  the  grey  earth  and  turned  into  spoon- 
bills, spread  their  wings,  and  flew  far  away.  Vasilisa 
the  Wise  was  left  by  herself,  and  she  looked  round  and 
said :  "  Whoever  he  be  who  now  has  my  shirt,  let  him 
come  here :  if  he  be  an  old  man,  he  shall  be  as  my  own 
father  ;  if  he  be  a  middle-aged  man,  he  shall  be  as  my 
beloved  brother  ;  if  he  be  of  my  age,  he  shall  be  my 
lover." 

As  soon  as  he  heard  this,  Ivan  Tsarevich  came  out  of 
his  lurking-place.  So  she  gave  him  a  golden  ring  and 
said,  "  Ivan  Tsarevich,  how  long  you  have  been  in 
coming  !  The  Sea  Tsar  is  wroth  with  you.  That  is 
the  road  which  leads  to  the  kingdom  under  the  sea  ; 
come  on  it  boldly.  There  you  will  find  me  as  well,  for 
I  am  Vasilisa  the  Wise,  the  daughter  of  the  Sea  Tsar." 
Then  Vasilisa  the  Wise,  the  eldest,  struck  the  earth, 
turned  into  a  spoonbill,  and  flew  away  from  the  Tsarevich. 

Then  Ivan  went  into  the  under-seas,  and  he  saw  light 
there  as  it  is  above,  fields  and  meadows  and  green  arbours  ; 
and  the  sun  was  hot.  Then  he  came  to  the  Sea  Tsar,  and 
the  Sea  Tsar  shrieked  out  at  him  :  "  Why  have  you  been 
so  long  ?  You  have  been  guilty,  and  you  must  do  me 
this  service :  I  have  a  piece  of  waste  ground  thirty 


250  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


a 


versts  long  and  broad,  and  there  is  nothing  on  it  except 
ditches,  ravines  and  sharp  stones.  By  to-morrow  morning 
all  this  must  be  as  smooth  as  the  palm  of  my  hand  ; 
rye  must  be  sown  and  grow  so  high  that  a  jackdaw 
might  be  hidden  in  it.  But  if  you  fail,  your  head  shall 
roll  off  your  shoulders." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  left  the  Sea  Tsar  and  wept  a  sea  of 
tears.  Out  of  the  window  of  her  room,  from  a  lofty 
turret,  Vasilisa  the  Wise  saw  him  and  asked,  "  Hail, 
Ivan  Tsarevich  !  why  are  you  weeping  ?  " 

"  How  should  I  not  weep  ?  "  answered  Ivan.  "  The 
Sea  Tsar  has  bidden  me  in  a  single  night  level  the  ravines 
and  clear  the  stones  from  a  piece  of  land  thirty  versts 
long  and  broad,  and  grow  rye  on  it  so  high  that  a  jack- 
daw might  hide  in  it." 

"  That  is  easy  enough :    this  is  no  trouble — trouble  i 
still  ahead.    Come  and  lie  down  in  peace  ;   the  morning 
is  wiser  than  the  evening.    All  shall  be  ready." 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  and  lay  down,  and  Vasilisa 
the  Wise  went  to  a  little  window  and  cried  in  a  thun- 
derous voice,  "  Hail,  my  faithful  servants,  go  and  level 
the  deep  ravines,  take  away  the  sharp  stones,  sow  the 
ground  with  full-eared  rye,  so  that  in  the  morning  it 
shall  grow  so  high  that  a  jackdaw  might  hide  in  it." 

In  the  morning  Ivan  Tsarevich  awoke,  and  when  he 
looked  out  it  was  all  done :  there  were  no  ravines  and 
no  crevasses,  and  the  field  was  as  flat  as  the  palm  of  his 
hand,  and  the  rye  on  it  was  red  and  so  lofty  that  a  jack- 
daw might  hide  in  it.  And  he  went  to  report  his  prowess 
to  the  Sea  Tsar. 

"  Thank  you,"  said  the  Sea  Tsar.  "  You  have  been 
able  to  fulfil  me  this  service.  Here  is  your  second  work. 
I  have  thirty  hayricks,  and  each  hayrick  contains  as 
much  as  thirty  piles  of  white-eared  barley.  Thresh  me 
all  the  barley  clean,  quite  clean  to  the  last  grain,  and 
do  not  destroy  the  hayricks  nor  beat  down  the  sheaves. 


THE  SEA  TSAR  AND  VASILlSA  THE  WISE    251 

If  you  do  not  do  this,  your  shoulders  and  your  head  will 
part  company." 

"  I  will  obey  your  Majesty,"  said  Ivan  Tsarevich,  and 
again  he  went  to  the  courtyard  and  was  lost  in  tears. 

"  Why  are  you  weeping,  Ivan  Tsarevich,  so  bitterly  ?  " 
Vasilisa  the  Wise  asked  him. 

"  Why  should  I  not  weep  ?  The  Sea  Tsar  has  bidden 
me  thresh  clean  thirty  hayricks  of  barley  without  destroy- 
ing a  hayrick  or  a  single  sheaf,  and  all  in  a  single  night." 

"  That  is  an  easy  task.  Harder  tasks  are  to  come. 
Sleep  in  peace,  for  the  morning  is  wiser  than  the  evening." 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  and  lay  down. 

Vasilisa  went  to  her  window  and  cried  out  in  a 
threatening  voice,  "  Hail,  ye  creeping  ants,  as  many  as 
there  be  of  you  in  the  white  world,  all  creep  here  and 
pick  out  all  the  corn  of  my  father's  hayricks  quite 
cleanly." 

In  the  morning  the  Sea  Tsar  asked  Ivan  Tsarevich  if 
he  had  done  this  service. 

"  I  have,  your  Majesty." 

"  Let  us  go  and  see." 

So  they  went  to  the  barn  floor,  and  there  all  the 
hayricks  stood  untouched  ;  and  they  went  to  the  granary, 
and  all  the  lofts  were  filled  to  the  top  with  corn. 

"  Thank  you,  brother,"  said  the  Sea  Tsar.  "  Now 
you  must  make  me  a  church  out  of  white  wax,  to  be 
ready  to-night,  and  this  shall  be  your  last  task." 

Once  again  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  to  the  courtyard 
and  began  to  weep. 

"  Why  are  you  weeping,  Ivan  Tsarevich  ?  " 

"  Why  should  I  not  weep  ?  The  Sea  Tsar  has  bidden 
me  in  a  single  night  build  a  church  of  white  wax." 

"  That  is  an  easy  task :  harder  tasks  are  near  at  hand. 
Lie  down  in  peace,  for  the  morning  is  wiser  than  the 
evening." 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  went  to  sleep. 


252  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Then  she  went  to  her  window  and  called  to  her  all 
the  bees  in  the  white  world,  "  Hail,  ye  bees  my  servants, 
do  ye  build  me  a  church  of  your  white  wax,  and  let  it 
be  finished  before  the  morning." 

In  the  morning  Ivan  got  up,  looked,  and  saw  the 
church  stood  there  made  of  clean  wax,  and  he  went  to 
the  Sea  Tsar  and  reported. 

"  Thank  you,  Ivan  Tsarevich :  of  all  the  servants  I 
have  had,  none  of  them  have  been  able  to  do  as  well  as 
you.  Now  be  my  heir  and  the  preserver  of  my  kingdom. 
Now  select  yourself  a  bride  out  of  my  twelve  daughters. 
They  are  all  alike,  face  for  face,  hair  with  hair,  clothing 
with  clothing.  If  you  guess  three  times  the  same  one, 
she  shall  be  your  bride ;  if  you  do  not,  you  shall  suffer." 

Vasilisa  the  Wise  learned  of  this,  chose  her  opportunity, 
and  said  to  the  Tsarevich,  "  The  first  time  I  will  wave 
my  dress,  the  second  time  I  will  smooth  my  dress,  and 
the  third  time  there  shall  be  a  fly  buzzing  round  my 
head."  Thus  he  was  able  to  guess  Vasilisa  all  three 
times.  And  they  were  betrothed,  and  there  was  a 
merry  feast  for  three  days. 

Time  went  by,  may-be  little,  may-be  much.  Ivan 
Tsarevich  grew  anxious  to  see  his  father  and  mother, 
and  he  wished  to  go  back  to  Holy  Russia. 

"  Why  are  you  so  grieved,  Ivan  Tsarevich  ?  " 

"  O  Vasilisa  the  Wise,  I  am  afflicted  for  my  father 
and  my  mother,  and  desire  to  behold  Holy  Russia." 

"  If  we  go  away  there  will  be  a  mighty  chase  after  us. 
The  Sea  Tsar  will  be  wroth,  and  will  give  us  over  to 
death.  We  must  be  cunning."  So  Vasilisa  spat  in  three 
corners,  and  the  doors  of  her  room  opened,  and  she,  t 
with  Ivan  Tsarevich,  ran  into  Sacred  Russia.  On  the 
second  day,  very  early,  an  embassy  came  from  the  Sea 
Tsar  to  catch  the  young  couple  and  to  summon  them 
into  the  palace,  and  they  knocked  on  the  door :  "  Wake 
up,  get  up  from  your  sleep ;  your  father  is  calling  you." 


THE  SEA  TSAR  AND  VASILlSA  THE  WISE    253 

"  It  is  yet  early :  we  have  not  yet  had  our  sleep  ; 
come  later  on,"  one  pool  answered. 

Then  the  ambassadors  retired,  and  they  waited  one 
hour  and  another  hour,  and  they  knocked  again  :  "  This 
is  not  the  time  and  season  to  sleep  ;  this  is  the  time  and 
season  to  get  up." 

"  Have  a  little  patience,  we  will  get  up  ;  we  are 
dressing,"  the  second  pool  answered. 

And  the  third  time  the  envoys  came,  saying  that  the 
Sea  Tsar  was  angry :  "  Why  are  you  so  long  making 
ready  ?  " 

"  We  will  be  down  soon,"  answered  the  third  pool. 

So  the  messengers  waited  and  waited,  and  then  again 
knocked.  Then  there  was  no  answer  and  no  reply,  so 
they  broke  in  the  door,  and  all  was  empty.  Then  they 
went  and  sent  word  to  the  Sea  Tsar  that  the  young  folk 
had  run  away.  He  was  very  angry,  and  he  set  a  mighty 
hunt  after  them. 

But  Vasilisa  the  Wise,  with  Ivan  Tsarevich,  was 
already  very  far  ahead :  they  were  leaping  on  swift 
horses  without  staying,  without  taking  breath.  "  Now, 
Ivan  Tsarevich,  bend  your  head  down  to  the  grey  earth 
and  listen.  Is  there  no  noise  of  a  hunt  from  the  Sea 
Tsar  ?  " 

Ivan  Tsarevich  leapt  down  from  his  horse,  put  his 
ear  to  the  ground,  and  said,  "  I  hear  the  talk  of  people, 
and  the  tramp  of  horses." 

"  This  is  the  hunt  after  us,"  said  Vasilisa  the  Wise. 
And  she  at  once  turned  the  horses  into  a  green  meadow, 
Ivan  Tsarevich  into  an  old  shepherd,  and  herself  into 
a  brooding  lamb. 

The  hunt  passed  by. 

"  Ho,  old  man,  have  you  seen  a  doughty  youth  with  a 
fair  maiden  galloping  by  ?  " 

"  No,  good  folk,  I  have  not  seen  them,"  said  Ivan 
Tsarevich.  "  It  is  forty  years  I  have  been  pasturing 


254  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

on  these  fields ;  not  one  bird  has  ever  flown  by,  not  one 
wild  beast  has  ever  rambled  by." 

So  they  returned  home. 

"  Your  Imperial  Majesty,  we  saw  no  one  on  the  road 
we  only  saw  a  shepherd  feeding  a  little  sheep." 

"  Why  did  you  not  take  it  ?     That  was  themselves 
said  the  Sea  Tsar.    And  he  sent  out  a  second  hunt. 

But  Ivan  Tsarevich  and  Vasilisa  the  Wise  were  leapii 
far  off  on  their  swift  steeds.     "  Now,  Ivan  Tsarevicl 
put  your  head  to  the  grey  earth  and  listen  whether 
there  is  no  hunt  from  the  Sea  Tsar." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  leapt  off  his  horse,  put  his  ear  to  the 
grey  earth  and  said,  "  I  hear  the  talk  of  people  and  tl 
hoppety-hop  of  horses." 

"  This  is  the  chase,  that  is  the  steeds,"  said  Vasili 
the  Wise  ;    and  she  turned  herself  into  a  church,  am 
Ivan   Tsarevich  into   an   elderly  pope   and   the  horses 
into  trees. 

So  the  hunt  went  by. 

"  Ho,  bdtyushka,  have  you  seen  a  shepherd  with  a 
little  lamb  passing  by  ?  " 

"  No,  good  people,  I  have  not.  I  have  been  working 
for  forty  years  in  this  church  ;  not  one  bird  has  flown 
by,  not  one  beast  has  rambled  by." 

So  the  hunt  went  back  and  reached  home. 

"  Your  Imperial  Majesty,  we  could  not  find  the 
shepherd  with  the  little  lamb :  the  only  thing  we  saw 
on  the  road  was  a  church  and  an  old  man  as  pope." 

"  Why  did  you  not  break  down  the  church  and 
capture  the  pope  ?  That  was  themselves  !  "  the  Sea 
Tsar  exclaimed,  and  he  himself  leapt  out  to  hunt  after 
Ivan  Tsarevich  and  Vasilisa  the  Wise. 

So  they  went  far,  and  again  Vasilisa  the  Wise  said, 
"  Ivan  Tsarevich,  put  your  ear  to  the  ground  ;  can  you 
hear  any  hunt  ?  " 

Then  the  Tsarevich  leapt  down,  put  his  ear  to  t] 


THE  SEA  TSAR  AND  VASILlSA  THE  WISE   255 

grey  earth,  and  said,  "  I  hear  the  talk  of  people  and  the 
thunder  of  horses'  hooves  faster  than  before." 
"  This  is  the  Sea  Tsar  himself  who  is  galloping." 
So  Vasilisa  the  Wise  turned  the  horses  into  a  mere, 
Ivan  Tsarevich  into  a  drake,  and  herself  into  a  duck. 
The  Sea  Tsar  came  up  to  the  lake  and  he  instantly 
guessed  who  were  the  duck  and  the  drake,  so  he  struck 
the  grey  earth  .and  turned  into  an  eagle.  The  eagle 
wanted  to  smite  them  to  death,  and  it  might  well  have 
been  ;  but,  as  soon  as  ever  he  struck  at  the  drake,  it 
dived  into  the  water,  and  whenever  he  struck  at  the 
duck  the  duck  dived  into  the  water,  and  whatever  he 
might  do  was  all  in  vain. 

So  the  Sea  Tsar  galloped  back  to  his  own  kingdom 
under  the  seas,  and  Vasilisa  the  Wise  with  Ivan  Tsarevich 
waited  a  while  and  then  returned  to  Sacred  Russia.  It 
may-be  long,  it  may-be  short,  at  last  they  came  into 
the  thrice-ninth  realm.  When  they  arrived  home  his 
father  and  mother  were  overjoyed  to  see  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
for  they  had  given  him  up  as  lost.  And  they  made  a 
great  feast  and  celebrated  the  marriage. 

I  was  there,  I  drank  mead  and  wine  :  it  flowed  up  to  my 
beard,  but  it  never  entered  my  mouth. 


THE  ANIMALS'  WINTER  QUARTERS 

ONCE  an  Ox  was  wandering  in  the  wood,  and  a  Ram  met 
him.    "  Where  are  you  going,  Ram  ?  "  asked  the  Ox. 

"  I  am  seeking  summer  in  winter,"  answered  the 
Ram. 

"  Come  with  me." 

So  they  went  together.    And  they  met  a  Pig. 

"  Where  are  you  going,  Pig  ?  "  asked  the  Ox. 

"  I  am  seeking  summer  in  winter." 

"  Come  with  us." 

So  they  all  went  together.  And  they  then  met  a 
Goose. 

"  Where  are  you  going,  Goose  ?  "  said  the  Bull. 

"  I  am  seeking  summer  in  winter,"  said  the  Goose. 

"  Well,  come  with  us." 

So  the  Goose  came  with  them.  So  they  went  on,  and 
they  met  a  Cock. 

"  Where  are  you  going,  Cock  ?  "  asked  the  Bull. 

"  I  am  seeking  summer  in  winter." 

"  Then  come  with  us,"  said  the  Bull  again. 

So  they  went  on  their  road  and  way,  and  began  speak- 
ing amongst  each  other.  "  What  shall  we  do,  brothers 
and  comrades  ?  the  cold  time  is  approaching :  how 
shall  we  have  warmth  ?  " 

So  the  Ox  said,  "  We  will  build  an  izba,1  and  we  shall 
not  freeze  during  the  winter." 

Then  the  Ram  said  :  "  My  shuba  is  very  warm  ;  I  will 
pass  the  winter  in  this  fashion." 

Then  the  Pig  said,  "  I  do  not  mind  any  frost  whatso- 

»  Hut. 
256 


THE  ANIMALS'  WINTER  QUARTERS     257 

ever :  I  will  burrow  into  the  ground  and  do  without 
any  izba."1 

Then  the  Goose  said,  "  I  will  sit  in  the  middle  of  this 
spruce,  lie  on  one  wing,  and  cover  myself  over  with  the 
other,  and  the  cold  cannot  touch  me.  That  is  how  I 
shall  pass  the  winter." 

Then  the  Cock  said,  "  I  shall  do  the  same." 

Then  the  Ox  saw  he  could  not  do  any  good :  every 
man  must  do  as  he  likes.  "  Well,"  he  said,  "  as  you  wish. 
/  am  going  to  build  an  izba."1 

So  he  built  himself  an  izba,1  and  he  lived  in  it. 

Then  the  cold  time  came,  and  earth  began  to  feel  the 
frosts.  And  the  Ram,  who  could  not  help  himself,  came 
to  the  Bull  and  said,  "  Brother,  let  me  in." 

"  No,  Ram,  you  have  a  warm  sbuba  ;  that  is  how  you 
are  going  to  pass  the  winter  !  I  shall  not  let  you  in." 

"  But  if  you  do  not  let  me  in,  I  shall  run  up  and  will 
dislodge  the  joists  of  the  izba1  and  you  will  feel  much 
colder." 

So  the  Bull  thought,  and  on  second  thoughts  said, 
;<  Very  well,  I  will  let  you  in.  Otherwise  I  might 
freeze."  And  he  let  the  Ram  in. 

Soon  the  Pig  felt  frozen,  and  came  to  the  Bull  and  said, 
"  Brother,  let  me  in." 

"  No,  Pig,  I  will  not  let  you  in.  You  need  only  burrow 
down  in  the  ground :  that  is  how  you  are  going  to  pass 
the  winter  !  " 

"  But  if  you  will  not  let  me  in,  with  my  snout  I  will 
drill  all  of  your  uprights  and  will  knock  your  izba1 
down." 

Well,  there  was  no  help  for  it,  and  the  Bull  had  to 
let  Piggy  in. 

Then  the  Goose  and  the  Cock  came  to  the  Bull  and 
said,  "  Brother,  we  want  to  come  in  and  warm  ourselves." 
No,  I  will  not  let  you  in :  both  of  you  have  two 
»  Hut. 


258  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

wings.  One  of  them  you  put  under  you,  and  the  other 
you  put  over  you :  that  is  how  you  pass  the  winter." 

"  But  if  you  do  not  let  us  in,"  said  the  Goose,  "  I  will 
pluck  away  all  the  moss  from  the  walls,  and  you  will  be 
much  colder  !  " 

"  What  !  won't  you  let  me  in  ?  "  said  the  Cock.  "  I 
will  fly  on  to  the  garret  and  I  will  scatter  all  the  earth 
from  the  roof,  and  you  will  be  much  colder." 

Well,  the  Bull  was  beaten,  and  he  was  forced  to  admit 
the  Goose  and  the  Cock.  In  the  warm  hut  the  Cock 
crowed  and  began  singing  merry  songs. 

Now  the  Fox  heard  the  Cock  singing  merry  songs, 
and  thought  he  would  like  to  make  such  a  dainty  acquaint- 
ance, only  he  did  not  know  how  to. 

So  the  Fox  bethought  himself  of  his  wiles,  and  ran  up 
to  the  Bear  and  the  Wolf  and  said,  "  Now,  my  dear 
kinsmen,  I  have  found  food  for  all  of  us :  a  Bull  for  you, 
Mr.  Bear,  a  Ram  for  you,  Mr.  Wolf,  and  a  Cock  for 
myself." 

"  What  a  capital  fellow  you  are,  Mr.  Fox ! "  said  the 
Bear  and  the  Wolf.  "  We  shall  never  be  oblivious  of 
your  services :  let  us  kill  and  eat  them." 

So  the  Fox  led  them  up  to  the  little  izba.1  When 
they  reached  the  hut,  the  Bear  said  to  the  Wolf :  "  You 
go  first." 

But  the  Wolf  said,  "  That  would  be  altogether  wrong 
— you  must  go  first." 

So  then  the  Bear  and  the  Wolf  said  to  the  Fox,  "  You 
must  go  first." 

As  the  Fox  went  in,  the  Bull  gored  him  with  his  horns 
to  the  wall,  and  the  Ram  sat  on  his  flanks,  and  the  Pig 
tore  him  to  atoms,  whilst  the  Goose  flew  on  to  him  and 
picked  out  his  eyes.  But  the  Cock  went  and  flew  up  to 
the  girder  and  crowed,  "  Do  come  in,  oh  do,  do,  do  !  " 

"  Why  is  the  Fox  such  a  long  time  at  work  with  the 

1  Hut. 


THE  ANIMALS'  WINTER  QUARTERS     259 

Cock  ?  "  said  the  Wolf :  "  Unlock  the  door,  Mikhaylo 
Ivanovich,1  and  I  will  come  in." 

"  Very  well,  come  in  !  "  So  the  Bull  opened  the  door 
and  the  Wolf  leapt  into  the  izbd.z 

As  the  Wolf  went  in  the  Bull  gored  him  to  the  wall 
with  his  horns,  the  Ram  sat  on  his  sides  and  the  Pig 
tore  him  to  atoms,  while  the  Goose  flew  on  to  him  and 
picked  out  his  eyes.  The  Cock  flew  up  to  the  girders 
and  began  shouting,  "  Come  along  here,  come  along 
here ! " 

But  the  Bear  got  tired  of  waiting  so  long :  "  What  a 
long  job  he  is  making  of  that  Ram  !  "  he  thought.  "  I 
must  go  in."  So  he  also  went  into  the  hut,  and  the  Bull 
gave  him  the  same  royal  welcome. 

He  burst  out  by  sheer  force  and  galloped  away  at  full 
speed,  and  never  once  looked  round. 

1  A  mock  patronymic  for  the  Bull. 

2  Hut. 


THE  STORY  OF  THE  BRAVE  AND  DOUGHTY 

KNIGHT   ILYA   MtJROMETS   AND   THE 

NIGHTINGALE   ROBBER 

ONCE  in  the  famous  city  of  Murom1  in  the  village  of 
Karacharovo,  a  peasant  lived  who  was  called  Ivan 
Timofeyevich  ;  he  had  one  beloved  son,  Ilya  Muromets. 
And  he  sat  down  in  a  house  as  a  stay-at-home  for  thirty 
years,  and  after  the  thirty  years  had  gone  by  he  began 
to  walk  on  his  feet  mightily,  and  he  gained  great  strength. 
Then  he  made  himself  the  trappings  of  war  and  a  lance 
of  steel,  and  got  himself  a  good  steed,  a  knightly  horse  ; 
he  then  went  up  to  his  mother  and  father  and  asked  their 
blessing.  "  Ye,  my  masters,  my  mother  and  father,  let  me 
go  into  the  famous  city  of  Kiev,  to  pray  to  God  and  to 
do  homage  to  our  prince  at  Kiev." 

The  mother  and  father  gave  him  their  blessing,  and 
made  him  swear  a  mighty  oath,  and  they  enjoined  a 
mighty  service  upon  him.  And  they  spake  in  this  wise : 
"  Do  you  go  straight  to  the  city  of  Kiev,  straight  to  the 
city  of  Chernigov,  and  on  your  journeying  do  no  one 
any  hurt,  spill  no  Christian  blood  vainly." 

Ilya  Muromets  took  the  blessing  of  his  father  and 
mother,  prayed  to  God,  bade  farewell  to  his  father  and 
mother,  and  set  forth  on  his  way  and  road.  And  he 
journeyed  far  in  the  dark  woods,  and  lighted  on  a  camp 
of  robbers.  Those  robbers  saw  Ilya  Muromets,  and  were 
envious  in  their  robber-like  hearts  for  his  knightly  horse, 
and  began  to  speak  amongst  themselves  how  they  might 
take  that  horse  ;  for  steeds  so  fine  were  not  seen  in  those 
parts,  and  now  some  unknown  man  was  passing  by  on 
1  &.  note  to  p.  125. 
260 


ILYA  MtJROMETS  AND  THE  ROBBER    261 

one.  So  they  set  on  Ilya  Muromets,  ten  at  once  and  then 
by  twenties.  And  Ilya  Muromets  stopped  his  knightly 
horse,  took  a  tempered  dart  and  set  it  on  his  strong  bow. 
He  let  the  tempered  dart  fall  on  the  earth,  and  it  tore 
into  the  earth  fifty  feet. 

And  seeing  this,  the  robbers  were  afraid,  and  collected 
in  a  circle,  fell  on  their  knees  and  prayed  him,  "  Master, 
our  father,  youth  mighty  of  prowess,  we  are  guilty  in 
thine  eyes ;  and,  for  this  our  guilt,  as  it  pleaseth  thee, 
inflict  on  us  a  fine  as  much  as  is  fit,  whether  it  be  coloured 
clothes  or  droves  of  horses." 

Ilya  smiled  at  them  and  said :  "  I  need  no  garments, 
but,  if  ye  wish  to  enjoy  your  life,  henceforth  take  no 
more  hazards." 

And  he  went  on  his  road  to  the  famous  city  of  Kiev. 
And  Ilya  Muromets  set  out  on  the  road ;  when  he  came 
under  the  walls  of  the  city  of  Sebezh  he  saw  three 
Tsarevichi  from  foreign  parts,  who  had  a  host  of  thirty 
thousand  men ;  they  wished  to  capture  the  city  of 
Sebezh  and  to  take  the  Tsar  of  Sebezh  prisoner.  So 
Ilya  Muromets  set  out  after  the  three  Tsarevichi,  and 
he  pursued  them  down  to  the  seashore  and  slew  all  the 
rest  of  the  army,  but  captured  the  Tsarevichi  alive  and 
returned  to  the  city  of  Sebezh,  and  the  citizens  saw  him 
and  gave  news  of  this  to  their  Tsar. 

When  he  arrived  at  the  city  of  Chernigov,  under  the 
walls  of  the  city  of  Chernigov  there  was  a  Saracen  host 
too  many  to  count  besieging  the  city  of  Chernigov: 
they  were  going  to  sack  it  and  to  set  God's  churches 
aflame,  and  to  take  captive  the  Prince,  the  Duke  of 
Chernigov.  And  at  that  mighty  host  and  fray,  Ilya 
Muromets  was  afraid,  but  he  placed  himself  at  the  will 
of  the  Saviour,  and  thought  how  he  would  sacrifice  his 
head  for  the  Christian  faith.  Then  Ilya  Muromets  began 
to  lay  low  the  Saracen  host  with  his  lance  of  steel,  and 
he  routed  all  of  the  pagan  host  and  took  the  Tsarevich 


262  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


of  the  Saracens  captive  and  led  him  into  the  city  of 
Chernigov.  As  he  entered,  all  the  citizens  of  the  city 
of  Chernigov  met  him  and  gave  him  honour,  and  the 
Prince  and  Duke  of  Chernigov  himself  came  out  to 
receive  the  doughty  youth  with  honour  and  to  give 
thanks  to  the  Lord  God  for  sending  such  unexpected 
succour  to  the  city  and  not  letting  them  all  perish  help- 
lessly before  the  mighty  Saracen  host.  They  receivec 
him  into  their  palace  and  they  gave  him  a  great  feast 
and  set  him  on  his  way. 

Ilya  Muromets  went  to  the  city  of  Kiev  straight  froi 
Chernigov  on  the  road  by  the  village  of  Kutiizovo,  which 
the  Nightingale  Robber  had  been  oppressing  for  thirty 
years,  not  letting  any  man  pass,  whether  on  horseback 
or  on  foot,  and  assailing  them  not  with  any  weapon, 
but  only  with  his  robber's  whistle.  Ilya  Muromets  rode 
into  the  open  field  and  saw  the  scattered  bones  of  knights 
and  warriors.  He  rode  over  them  and  arrived  at  the 
Bryanski  woods,1  the  miry  swamp,  to  the  hazel-tree 
bridges,  and  to  the  Smorodina  river.  The  Nightingale 
Robber  heard  his  end  approaching,  and  felt  a  foreboding 
of  a  terrible  ill ;  and  before  Ilya  Muromets  had  advanced 
twenty  versts,  he  whistled  with  his  powerful  robber's 
whistle.  But  the  valorous  heart  of  Ilya  was  not  afraid, 
and  before  ever  he  had  advanced  ten  versts  more  the 
Nightingale  Robber  whistled  more  terribly  than  before, 
and  the  horse  of  Ilya  Muromets  stumbled  at  the 
sound. 

At  last  Ilya  arrived  at  the  nest,  which  was  spread  above 
twelve  oaks,  and  the  Nightingale  Robber  was  sitting  in 
the  nest,  saw  the  white  Russian  knight  approaching,  and 
began  to  whistle  with  all  of  his  might,  essaying  to  smite 
Ilya  Muromets  to  death.  Ilya  Muromets  took  out  his 
strong  bow,  put  a  tempered  dart  to  it,  and  shot  it  at  tl 

1  A   great  forest  in  Central  Russia,  once  impenetrable  and  alwa) 
legendary. 


ILYA  MtJROMETS  AND  THE  ROBBER    263 

nest  of  the  Nightingale  Robber ;  it  fell  into  his  right  eye 
and  went  beyond.  And  the  Robber-Nightingale  fell  down 
from  his  nest  like  a  sheaf  of  oats.  Ilyi  Muromets  took 
the  Robber-Nightingale,  tied  him  strongly  to  his  steel 
stirrup  and  rode  to  the  famous  city  of  Kiev. 

On  his  way  he  passed  the  palace  of  the  Nightingale 
Robber,  and  as  soon  as  he  came  up  to  the  Robber's 
palace  the  windows  were  opened  and  out  of  these  win- 
dows the  Nightingale  Robber's  three  daughters  were 
looking.  The  youngest  daughter  saw  him,  and  cried 
out  to  her  sisters :  "  Here  is  our  father  coming  back 
with  booty :  he  is  bringing  us  a  man  tied  to  his  steel 
stirrup." 

But  the  elder  sister  looked  out  and  cried  bitterly : 
"  That  is  not  our  father  ;  some  unknown  man  is  coming 
along  and  is  dragging  our  father  after  him." 

Then  they  cried  out  to  their  husbands,  "  Masters,  do 
ye  go  and  meet  that  man  and  slay  him  for  the  slaying  of 
our  father,  lest  our  name  be  disgraced." 

Then  their  husbands,  mighty  warriors,  set  out  to  face 
the  white  Russian  knight.  They  had  good  horses,  sharp 
lances,  and  they  wished  to  hoist  Ilya  aloft  on  their 
lances. 

The  Nightingale  Robber  saw  them,  and  said,  "  My 
beloved  sons,  do  not  dishonour  nor  take  such  a  bold 
knight,  and  so  all  receive  your  death  from  him  ;  it  would 
be  better  to  ask  his  forgiveness  in  humbleness  and 
to  ask  him  into  my  house  to  have  a  goblet  of  green 
wine." 

So  at  the  invitation  of  the  sons-in-law  Ilya  returned 
home  and  received  no  evil  of  them. 

The  eldest  daughter  raised  an  iron  storm-board  of 
chains  for  him  to  stumble  against ;  but  Ilya  saw  her  on 
the  gates,  struck  at  her  with  his  lance,  and  he  smote  her 
to  death. 

When  Ilya  arrived  at  the  city  of  Kiev,  he  went  straight 


264  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

to  the  Prince's  courtyard,  entered  the  white  stone  palace, 
prayed  to  God  and  did  homage  to  the  Prince. 

The  Prince  of  Kiev  asked  him,  "  Say,  doughty  youth, 
how  do  they  call  thee  ?  Of  what  city  art  thou  ?  ': 

And  Ilya  Muromets  returned  answer :  "  My  lord, 
they  call  me  Ilyushka,  and  by  my  father's  name  Ivanov  ; 
I  live  in  the  city  of  Murom  in  the  village  of  Kara- 
charovo." 

Then  the  Prince  asked  him,  "  By  what  road  didst 
thou  come  ?  " 

"  From  Murom  by  the  city  of  Chernigov,  and  under 
the  walls  of  Chernigov  I  routed  a  Saracen  host  too  many 
to  count,  and  I  relieved  the  city  of  Chernigov.  And 
from  there  I  went  straight  and  I  took  the  mighty 
Nightingale  Robber  alive  and  dragged  him  along  at  my 
steel  stirrup." 

Then  the  Prince  was  angry  and  said,  "  Why  art  thou 
telling  such  tales  ?  " 

When  the  knights  Alyosha  Popovich  and  Dobrynya 
Nikitich  heard  this,  they  dashed  out  to  look,  and  assured 
the  Prince  that  this  was  really  so. 

Then  the  Prince  bade  a  goblet  of  green  wine  be  given 
to  the  doughty  youth.  The  Prince,  however,  wished 
to  hear  the  whistle  of  the  Robber-Nightingale.  Ilya 
Muromets  put  the  Prince  and  Princess  into  a  sable 
sbuba,  seized  them  under  the  arm,  called  in  the  Nightin- 
gale Robber  and  bade  him  whistle  like  a  nightingale  with 
only  half  his  whistle ;  but  the  Nightingale  Robber 
whistled  with  all  his  robber's  whistle,  and  he  deafened 
all  of  the  knights,  so  that  they  fell  to  the  ground,  and  as 
a  punishment  for  this  was  slain  by  Ilya  Muromets. 

Ilya  Muromets  swore  blood  brotherhood  with 
Dobrynya  Nikitich,  then  they  saddled  their  good  horses 
and  rode  forth  on  the  open  fields ;  and  they  journeyed 
on  for  about  three  months  and  found  no  opponent  worthy 
of  their  steel :  they  had  only  gone  in  the  open  field. 


ILYA  MtJROMETS  AND  THE  ROBBER    265 

Then  they  met  a  passer-by,  a  beggar  singing  psalms. 
His  shirt  weighed  fifteen  pud,  and  his  hat  ten  pud,  and 
his  stick  was  ten  sazhens  long.  Ilya  Muromets  set  on 
him  with  his  horse,  and  was  going  to  try  his  mighty 
strength  on  him. 

Then  the  passing  beggar  saw  Ilya  Muromets  and  said : 
"  Hail,  Ilya  Muromets !  Do  you  recollect  ?  I  learned 
my  letters  with  you  in  the  same  school,  and  now  you  are 
setting  your  horse  on  me,  who  am  only  a  beggar,  as 
though  I  were  an  enemy,  and  you  do  not  know  that  a 
very  great  misfortune  has  befallen  the  city  of  Kiev. 
The  infidel  knight,  the  mighty  man,  the  dishonourable 
Idolishche,  has  arrived.  His  head  is  as  big  as  a  beer 
cauldron,  and  his  shoulders  a  sazben  broad.  There  is  a 
span  length  between  his  brows,  and  between  his  ears 
there  is  a  tempered  dart.  And  he  eats  an  ox  at  a  time 
and  he  drinks  a  cask  at  a  time.  The  Prince  of  Kiev  is 
very  aggrieved  with  you  that  you  have  left  him  in  such 
straits." 

So  Ilya  Muromets  changed  into  the  beggar's  dress 
and  rode  straight  back  to  the  palace  of  the  Prince,  and 
cried  out  in  a  knightly  voice :  "  Hail  to  thee,  Prince  of 
Kiev  !  give  me,  a  wandering  beggar,  alms." 

And  the  Prince  saw  him  and  spoke  in  this  wise :  "  Come 
into  my  palace,  beggar.  I  will  give  you  food  and  drink 
and  will  give  you  gold  on  your  way." 

So  the  beggar  went  into  the  palace  and  stood  at  the 
stove  and  looked  round. 

Idolishche  asked  to  eat,  so  they  brought  him  an  entire 
roasted  ox  and  he  ate  it  to  the  bones ;  then  Idolishche 
asked  for  drink,  so  they  brought  him  a  cauldron  of  beer  ; 
and  twenty  men  had  to  bring  it  in.  And  he  held  it  up 
to  his  ears  and  drank  it  all  through. 

Ilya  Muromets  said,  "  My  father  had  a  gluttonous 
mare  ;  it  guzzled  until  its  breath  failed." 

Idolishche  could  not  stand  this  affront,  and  said,  "  Hail, 


266  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

wandering  beggar  !  Do  you  dare  me  ?  I  could  take  you 
in  my  hands  ;  if  it  had  been  Ilya  Muromets  I  would 
even  have  braved  him." 

"  Well,"  said  Ilya  Muromets,  "  that  is  the  kind  of  man 
he  was  !  "  And  he  took  off  his  cap  and  struck  him  lightly 
on  the  head,  and  he  nearly  knocked  through  the  walls 
of  the  palace,  took  Idolishche's  trunk  and  flung  it  out. 
And  in  return  the  Prince  honoured  Ilya  Muromets, 
praised  him  highly,  and  placed  him  amongst  the  mighty 
knights  of  his  court. 


NIKlTA  THE  TANNER 

ONE  day,  somewhere  near  Kiev,  a  dragon  appeared, 
who  demanded  heavy  tribute  from  the  people.  He 
demanded  every  time  to  eat  a  fair  maiden :  and  at  last 
the  turn  came  to  the  Tsarevna,  the  princess.  But  the 
dragon  would  not  eat  her,  she  was  too  beautiful.  He 
dragged  her  into  his  den  and  made  her  his  wife.  When 
he  flew  out  on  business,  he  used  to  pile  logs  of  wood  in 
front  of  the  den  to  prevent  the  Tsarevna  escaping.  But 
the  Tsarevna  had  a  little  dog  that  had  followed  her  all 
the  way  from  home.  When  she  wrote  a  letter  to  her 
father  and  mother  she  used  to  tie  it  to  the  neck  of  her 
little  dog,  which  would  run  all  the  way  home  and  bring 
an  answer  back.  One  day  her  parents  wrote  to  her : 
"  Try  to  discover  any  one  who  is  stronger  than  the 
dragon."  The  Tsarevna  got  every  day  on  more  intimate 
terms  with  her  dragon  in  order  to  discover  who  was 
stronger.  At  last  he  owned  that  Nikita,  the  tanner  at  Kiev, 
was  the  stronger.  So  the  Tsarevna  at  once  wrote  to  her 
father  :  "  Look  for  Nikita,  the  tanner  at  Kiev,  and  send 
him  on  to  me  to  deliver  me  from  my  imprisonment." 

So  the  Tsar  looked  for  Nikita,  and  went  to  him  himself 
to  beg  him  to  release  the  land  from  the  cruelty  of  the 
dragon  and  redeem  the  princess. 

Just  then  Nikita  was  tanning  skins.  He  was  just 
enfolding  twelve  hides  in  his  hands.  But  when  he  saw 
the  Tsar  come  to  see  him,  his  hands  so  trembled  for 
fear  that  he  rent  the  twelve  hides.  But,  however  much 
the  Tsar  and  the  Tsaritsa  asked  him,  he  would  not  set 
out  against  the  dragon.  Then  the  Tsar  assembled  five 

267 


268  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

thousand  children,  who  were  to  mollify  the  tanner 
with  their  bitter  tears.  The  little  ones  came  to  Nikita  and 
begged  him  to  go  and  fight  the  dragon.  And  when  he 
saw  them  weep,  Nikita  the  tanner  himself  almost  felt 
the  tears  flowing.  He  took  thirty  puds  of  hemp,  tarred  it, 
and  swathed  himself  in  it  in  order  that  the  dragon  might 
find  him  a  hard  morsel,  and  then  set  out.  But  the  dragon 
locked  himself  up  in  his  den  and  would  not  come  to  view. 

"  Come  with  me  into  the  open  field,  otherwise  I  will 
shatter  your  den  to  pieces !  "  said  the  tanner,  and  began 
clattering  at  the  doors. 

Then  the  dragon,  seeing  his  doom  approach,  came 
out  into  the  open.  Nikita  the  tanner  fought  the  grisly 
worm  some  time,  maybe  long,  maybe  short,  and  at  last 
got  him  under. 

Then  the  dragon  besought  Nikita  the  tanner :  "  Do 
not  beat  me  to  death.  Stronger  than  us  two  there  is 
nothing  in  the  white  world.  Let  us  divide  the  earth. 
You  may  live  on  the  one  half  and  I  on  the  other." 

"  Very  well !  "  said  Nikita,  "  only  we  must  delimit 
frontiers." 

So  the  tanner  took  the  plough,  which  weighed  three 
hundred  puds,  and  harnessed  to  it  the  dragon,  and  drew 
the  harrow  all  the  way  from  Kiev  to  the  Caspian  Sea. 

"  Now  we  have  divided  the  entire  earth,"  said  the  dragon. 

"  Yes,  we  have  divided  the  earth,  but  not  the  sea  ; 
we  must  also  divide  the  sea,  otherwise  you  would  say  I 
was  taking  your  share  of  the  water."  So  they  then  set 
out  into  the  middle  of  the  sea,  and  there  Nikita  slew 
the  dragon  and  drowned  him. 

The  trench  may  still  be  seen :  it  is  two  fathoms  deep. 
They  plough  all  round  it ;  but  never  touch  the  bottom  : 
those  who  do  not  know  whence  came  this  trench  call 
it  a  battlement. 

When  Nikita  had  done  this  feat,  he  demanded  no 
reward  for  it,  but  went  home  and  went  on  tanning. 


THE    SINGING-TREE   AND   THE 
SPEAKING-BIRD 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  very  inquisitive  King  who 
spent  all  his  time  eavesdropping  at  the  window.  There 
was  also  a  merchant,  who  had  three  daughters,  and  one 
day  they  were  talking  to  their  father,  and  one  said : 
"  If  only  the  King's  bread-bearer  would  marry  me  !  " 
The  second  one  said :  "  If  only  the  King's  valet  would 
cast  his  eyes  upon  me  !  "  But  the  third  said :  "  I  want 
the  King  himself :  I  would  bear  him  two  sons  and  one 
daughter." 

Now  the  King  was  listening  to  all  this  conversation  ; 
and  after  a  few  days  he  did  exactly  as  they  had  wished : 
the  eldest  married  the  King's  bread-bearer,  the  middle 
one  the  King's  valet,  but  the  youngest  married  the  King 
himself. 

The  King  married  very  happily,  and  after  some  time 
his  Queen  was  about  to  bear  him  a  child.  He  was  sending 
for  the  midwife  of  the  town,  but  the  elder  sisters  asked 
him  why  he  should  ;  they  would  act  as  midwives.  As 
soon  as  the  Queen  had  born  him  a  son,  the  midwives 
took  him  away  and  told  the  King  his  wife  had  born 
a  pup  ;  and  they  put  the  new-born  babe  into  a  box  and 
threw  it  into  a  big  pond  in  the  King's  garden. 

At  this  the  King  was  very  angry,  and  wanted  to  have 
his  wife  blown  to  bits  at  the  cannon's  mouth ;  but — it 
so  happened — some  other  princes  were  on  a  visit,  and 
persuaded  him  to  forgive  a  first  offence.  So  the  King  par- 
doned her  for  the  nonce,  and  gave  her  a  second  chance. 

One  year  went  by,  and  the  Queen  bore  him  another 

269 


270  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

son,  and  the  sisters  again  took  it  away,  and  told  him  she 
had  born  a  kitten.  The  King  was  angry  at  first,  this 
time  he  was  sore  enraged,  and  was  agog  to  punish  his 
wife,  but  once  more  he  was  won  over. 

So  he  gave  her  a  third  chance.  This  time  the  Queen 
bore  a  very  beautiful  daughter,  and  the  sisters  took  it 
and  told  the  King  she  had  born  an  unheard-of  monster. 
Oh  !  there  were  no  bounds  to  his  fury  now ;  he  ordered 
the  hangman  in  and  bade  him  hang  his  wife  on  the  spot ; 
but  once  more  some  visiting  princes  overruled  him  and 
said :  "  Would  it  not  be  better  to  put  an  oratory  up 
near  the  church  and  put  her  into  it,  and  let  every  one 
who  goes  to  Mass  spit  into  her  eyes  ?  "  So  he  did  ;  but, 
so  far  from  being  spat  upon  by  every  passer-by,  every 
one  brought  her  fine  loaves  and  pasties. 

But,  when  her  three  children  had  been  thrown  into 
the  pond  in  the  King's  garden,  they  were  not  drowned, 
for  the  King's  gardener  took  them  home  and  brought 
them  up.  They  were  fine  children ;  you  could  see 
them  growing  up,  not  by  years,  but  months,  not  by 
days,  but  by  hours.  The  King's  sons  shot  up,  youths  no 
men  could  imagine,  guess,  or  draw,  or  paint ;  and  the 
Tsarevna  was  such  a  beauty  !  Almost  terribly  beautiful ! 
One  day,  when  they  were  older,  they  asked  the  gardener 
to  let  them  build  themselves  a  little  home  behind  the 
town.  The  gardener  consented,  and  they  erected  a  big, 
splendid  house,  and  led  a  merry  life  in  it.  The  brothers 
used  to  go  hunting  hares,  and  one  day  they  went  off 
and  left  their  sister  alone  at  home. 

A  visitor  knocked  at  the  door :  the  sister  opened  the 
door  and  saw  an  old  hag,  who  said  :  "  You  have  a  pretty 
little  place  here  ;  three  things  are  lacking." 

"  What  are  they  ?  I  always  thought  we  had  every- 
thing !  " 

The  hag  replied :  "  You  still  need  the  Talking-Bird, 
the  Singing-Tree,  and  the  Water  of  Life." 


SINGING-TREE  AND  SPEAKING-BIRD    271 

And  then  the  sister  was  left  all  alone  once  more ;  when 
her  brothers  came  home,  she  said :  "  Brothers,  we  lack 
nothing  save  three  things." 

"  What  are  they  ?  " 

"  We  haven't  a  Talking-Bird,  a  Singing-Tree,  and  the 
Water  of  Life  !  " 

The  elder  brother  said :  "  Sister,  give  me  your  bless- 
ing, and  I'll  go  and  discover  you  these  marvels.  If  I  die, 
or  am  killed,  you  will  know  by  this  knife  dripping  blood. 
There  it  is,  stuck  into  the  wall." 

So  he  went,  and  wandered  away,  far,  far  away  into 
the  forest.  At  last  he  came  to  a  gigantic  oak-tree  ;  and 
on  the  tree  there  was  an  old  man  sitting,  whom  he  asked 
how  he  was  to  procure  the  "  Talking-Bird,  a  Singing- 
Tree,  and  the  Water  of  Life." 

The  old  man  replied :  "  Possible  it  is,  but  not  easy ; 
many  go,  but  few  return." 

But  the  young  man  persisted  and  left  the  old  man. 
The  old  man  gave  him  a  rolling-pin,  and  told  him  to  let 
it  roll  on  in  front  of  him,  and  follow  wherever  it  went. 
The  pin  rolled  on,  and  after  it  walked  the  Prince :  it 
rolled  up  to  a  steep  hill,  and  was  lost.  Then  the  Prince 
went  up  the  hill,  went  half-way  up  ;  and,  as  he  went 
along,  he  heard  a  voice :  "  Hold  him,  seize  him,  grip 
him  !  "  He  looked  round  and  was  turned  into  stone. 

That  very  same  hour  blood  began  to  drip  from  the 
knife  in  the  cottage,  and  the  sister  told  the  younger 
brother  that  the  elder  was  dead. 

So  he  answered :  "  Now  I  will  go,  sister  mine,  and 
capture  the  Talking-Bird,  the  Singing-Tree,  and  the 
Water  of  Life  !  " 

So  she  blessed  him,  and  he  went  on  and  on  for  very 
many  weary  miles,  and  met  the  old  man  on  the  tree, 
who  gave  him  another  rolling-pin :  and  the  pin  rolled  up 
to  the  mountain  ;  and  both  were  lost,  pin  and  Prince  ! 

The  sister  waited  for  many  years,  but  he  never  came 


272  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

back,  and  she  thought  he,  too,  must  have  died.  So  she 
set  out  to  find  the  Talking-Bird,  Singing-Tree,  and 
Water  of  Life.  She  arrived  at  last  at  that  same  oak-tree, 
saw  the  old  man  sitting  on  it,  greeted  him,  and  shaved 
his  head  and  brows,  as  she  brought  scissors  and  a  mirror 
with  her. 

"  Look,"  she  said,  "  what  a  change  it  makes  in  you  !  " 

H£  looked  into  the  mirror  :  "  Yes,"  he  said  ;  "  I  am 
quite  a  fine  man  now.  I've  sat  here  thirty  years :  never 
a  soul  cut  my  hair,  you  guessed  my  need." 

Then  she  asked  him :  "  Grandfather,  how  can  I  get  the 
Talking-Bird,  the  Singing-Tree,  and  the  Water  of  Life  ? " 

He  answered :  "  How  can  you  get  them  ?  Cleverer 
folk  than  you  have  been  after  them,  and  they  have  all 
been  lost." 

But  she  persisted  :    "  Please  tell  me  !  " 

So  he  gave  her  another  rolling-pin,  and  told  her  to 
follow  it :  she  would  hear  cries  of  "  Catch  her :  scotch 
her,"  but  she  must  not  look  round,  for  fear  of  being 
turned  into  stone.  "  At  the  top  you  will  see  a  well  and 
the  Talking-Bird.  As  you  come  back,  you  will  see  lofty 
stones  standing  upright ;  sprinkle  them  all  with  the 
Water  of  Life." 

So  on  she  went :  the  pin  rolled  on,  far  or  near,  long  or 
short,  it  reached  a  steep  mountain  ;  and  the  girl  climbed 
up  and  heard  cries :  "  Where  are  you  going  ?  We  shall 
kill  you  !  We  shall  eat  you  up  !  " 

But  still  she  went  on  and  on,  reached  the  summit, 
and  there  she  found  a  well  and  the  Talking-Bird.  She 
took  it  and  asked  it :  "  Tell  me  how  to  get  the  Singing- 
Tree  and  the  Water  of  Life." 

The  Bird  replied :   "  Go  straight  by  this  path." 

She  did,  and  came  upon  the  Singing-Tree,  and  in  it 
all  sorts  of  birds  were  singing.  She  broke  off  a  sprig, 
pulled  up  a  water-lily,  and  put  some  of  the  Water  of  Life 
into  the  cup  of  the  flower,  and  turned  back  homewards, 


SINGING-TREE  AND  SPEAKING-BIRD    273 

As  she  clomb  downhill,  she  saw  boulders  standing 
upright,  and  sprinkled  them  with  the  Water  of  Life  ; 
and  her  brothers  jumped  up  alive  and  said :  "  Oh,  what 
a  long  sleep  we  have  had  !  " 

"  Yes,  my  brothers,  but  for  me  you  would  have  slept 
on  for  ever.  And  look  here  ;  I  have  got  you  the  Talking- 
Bird,  the  Singing-Tree,  and  the  Water  of  Life  !  " 

The  brothers  were  overjoyed,  went  home  and  planted 
the  Singing-Tree  in  the  garden ;  it  overspread  the 
whole  garden,  and  all  kinds  of  birds  began  singing. 

One  day  they  were  out  hunting  and  the  King  met 
them  by  chance.  He  fell  in  love  with  the  gay  huntsmen, 
and  invited  them  home.  They  said  they  would  ask  their 
sister,  and  come  at  once  if  she  consented. 

So  they  went  back  home.  The  sister  met  them  and 
greeted  them,  and  the  brothers  said :  "  Please,  sister, 
may  we  go  and  dine  with  the  King  ?  He  has  asked  us  in." 

She  said  "  Yes,"  and  they  went.  At  the  banquet,  the 
King  gave  them  the  place  of  honour,  and  they  begged  he 
would  honour  them  with  a  visit.  Some  days  later  the 
King  went.  They  gave  him  a  rich  spread,  and  showed 
him  the  Singing-Tree  and  the  Talking-Bird. 

He  was  amazed  and  said :  "  I  am  the  King,  and  have 
nothing  as  good  !  " 

Then  the  King  looked  at  them  and  said :  "  Who  is 
your  father  ?  " 

They  said :  "  We  do  not  know."  But  the  Talking- 
Bird  broke  in  and  said  :  "  They  are  your  children." 

Then  the  King  looked  at  the  maiden  and  wanted  to 
marry  her.  Again  the  Talking-Bird  said :  "  You  may 
not ;  she  is  your  daughter." 

The  King  then  saw  how  matters  stood  ;  was  over- 
joyed ;  took  them  to  live  with  him  for  ever.  As  to  the 
two  evil  sisters,  he  had  them  shot ;  but  his  wife  he 
released  from  the  chapel,  and  took  her  to  himself  again, 
and  they  lived  merrily  on  for  many  years  of  happiness. 


AT   THE    BEHEST   OF   THE   PIKE 

ONCE  there  lived  a  poor  peasant ;  and,  however  muc 
he  might  toil  and  moil,  he  got  nothing  out  of  it.  "  Oh," 
he  thought  to  himself,  "  mine  is  a  sorry  lot ;  I  spend  all  my 
days  on  my  fields ;  and  then,  when  I  look,  I  am  starving, 
whilst  my  neighbour  is  lying  all  day  long  on  his  back, 
and  then  he  has  a  big  estate  and  all  the  profits  swim 
into  his  pockets.  Evidently  I  have  not  pleased  God. 
I  will  get  up  in  the  morning  and  pray  until  evening, 
and  perhaps  the  Lord  may  have  mercy  on  me." 

So  he  began  to  pray  to  God,  and  went  hungry  for  days 
on  days ;  and  he  still  went  on  praying. 

At  last  Easter  Day  came,  and  the  bells  rang  for  Mass. 
So  the  poor  peasant  thought,  "  All  good  folks  are  getting 
ready  to  break  the  fast,  and  I  have  not  a  crust  of  bread. 
Well,  if  I  bring  water,  I  can  sip  it  like  soup."  So  he  took 
a  small  can,  went  to  the  well,  and  as  soon  as  he  dipped 
it  into  the  water  a  big  pike  fell  into  it.  Then  the  peasant 
was  very  glad.  "  Here  is  something  for  supper  ;  I  will 
cook  it  and  make  fish  soup  of  it,  and  shall  have  a  fine 
supper." 

Then  the  pike  said  to  him  in  a  human  voice :  "  Let: 
me  go  free,  good  man,  go  free.  I  will  make  you  happy ; 
whatever  your  soul  may  desire  you  shall  possess.  Yon 
need  only  say : 

At  the  pike's  good  pleasure, 
By  God's  good  measure — 

let  this  or  that  appear  !  and  you  will  get  it  at  once." 

274 


AT  THE  BEHEST  OF  THE  PIKE         275 

So  the  peasant  put  the  pike  back  into  the  water,  went 
to  his  hut,  sat  down  at  the  table  and  said : 

"At  the  pike's  good  pleasure, 
By  God's  good  measure — 

let  the  table  be  covered  and  my  dinner  ready." 

Then  from  somewhere  or  other  all  sorts  of  dishes  and 
drinks  appeared  on  the  table,  enough  to  please  a  Tsar, 
and  a  Tsar  would  not  have  been  ashamed  of  it.  So  the 
poor  man  crossed  himself,  said  "  Glory  be  to  Thee,  O 
Lord  !  now  I  can  break  the  fast."  So  he  went  to  the 
church,  attended  Matins  and  Mass,  turned  back  and 
again  broke  his  fast,  ate  and  drank  as  well,  went  outside 
the  door  and  sat  at  the  counter. 

Just  about  then  the  Princess  had  an  idea  that  she 
would  go  abroad  in  the  streets,  and  she  went  with  her 
attendants  and  maids  of  honour,  and  for  the  sake  of  the 
holy  festival  went  to  give  alms  to  the  poor  ;  she  gave  to 
them  all  but  forgot  the  poor  peasant.  Then  he  said  to 
himself : 

"At  the  pike's  good  pleasure, 
Of  God's  good  treasure — 

let  the  Tsarevna  bear  a  child."  And  at  the  word  that 
very  instant  the  Tsarevna  became  pregnant,  and  in  ten 
months  she  bore  a  son. 

Then  the  Tsar  began  to  ask  her,  "  Do  acknowledge 
with  whom  you  have  been  guilty." 

Then  the  Tsarevna  wept  and  swore  in  every  way  that 
she  had  been  guilty  with  nobody.  "  I  do  not  know 
myself,"  she  said,  "  why  the  Lord  has  chastised  me." 

The  Tsar  asked,  but  found  nothing  out. 

Soon  a  boy  was  born  who  grew  not  by  days  but  by 
hours  ;  and  at  the  end  of  a  week  he  could  already  talk. 
So  the  Tsar  summoned  all  the  boydrs  and  the  senators 
from  every  part  of  the  kingdom  to  show  them  the 


276  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

youth,  but  none  of  them  acknowledged  that  he  was 
the  father. 

"  No,"  the  boy  answered,  "  none  of  them  is  my 
father." 

Then  the  Tsar  bade  the  maids  of  honour  and  atten- 
dants take  him  up  to  every  courtyard,  through  all  the 
streets,  and  to  show  him  to  all  manner  of  people.  So 
the  attendants  and  maids  of  honour  took  the  youth 
through  all  the  courtyards,  through  all  the  streets  they 
went.  But  the  boy  said  nothing. 

At  last  they  came  to  the  poor  peasant's  hut.  As  soon 
as  the  boy  saw  that  peasant,  he  at  once  stretched  out  his 
little  hands  and  said  "  Tydtya,  Tydtya  !  "  Then  they 
told  the  Emperor  of  this,  and  they  summoned  the  poor 
man  into  the  palace,  and  the  Tsar  began  to  inquire  of 
him,  "  Acknowledge  on  oath,  is  this  your  boy  ? " 

"  No,  he  is  God's  son." 

Then  the  Tsar  was  angry  and  married  the  poor  man 
to  the  Princess,  and  after  the  wedding  he  set  them  both 
with  the  child  in  a  big  tub,  smeared  it  with  tar,  and 
sent  it  out  into  the  open  sea.  So  the  tub  sailed  on  the 
open  sea,  and  the  boisterous  winds  carried  and  bore  it 
to  a  distant  shore.  When  the  poor  man  heard  that  the 
water  no  longer  moved  under  them,  he  said : 

"At  the  pike's  good  pleasure, 
At  God's  good  measure — 

let  the  barrel  rest  on  a  dry  spot." 

So  the  barrel  turned  round  and  got  on  to  a  dry  spot, 
and  they  went  on,  following  their  eyes.  And  they  went 
on  and  on,  on  and  on,  and  they  had  nothing  to  eat  or 
drink.  The  Princess  was  utterly  exhausted  and  had 
pined  away  to  a  shadow,  and  she  could  hardly  stand  on 
her  legs. 

"  Now,"  said  the  poor  man,  "  do  you  know  what 
hunger  and  thirst  are  ?  " 


AT  THE  BEHEST  OF  THE  PIKE        277 

"  Yes,  I  do,"  said  the  Princess. 

"  Well,  this  is  what  the  poor  have  to  endure.  Yet  you 
would  not  give  me  alms  on  Easter  Day."  Then  the  poor 
man  said : 

"At  the  pike's  good  pleasure, 
Of  God's  good  treasure — 

let  there  be  here  a  rich  palace,  the  finest  in  all  the  world, 
with  gardens  and  ponds  and  all  sorts  of  pavilions." 

As  soon  as  he  had  spoken  a  rich  palace  appeared  ; 
faithful  henchmen  ran  out  of  it  and  carried  them  in 
their  hands,  led  them  into  the  white  stone  rooms,  and 
they  sat  down  at  the  oaken  tables  with  chequered  linen 
on  them.  It  was  marvellously  decorated,  was  this 
palace.  On  the  table  everything  was  ready,  wine  and 
sweets  and  made  dishes.  The  poor  man  and  the 
Tsarevna  ate  and  drank  at  their  will,  rested  them,  and 
went  for  a  walk  into  the  garden. 

"  Everything  is  beautiful  here,"  said  the  Princess  ; 
"  the  only  thing  still  lacking  is  to  see  the  birds  upon  our 
ponds." 

"  Wait,  you  shall  have  birds  as  well,"  answered  the 
poor  man,  and  he  said  at  once : 

"At  the  pike's  good  pleasure, 

At  God's  good  measure — 

»•*• 

let  twelve  ducks  and  one  drake  swim  on  the  pond,  and 
let  them  have  one  feather  of  gold  and  another  of  silver, 
and  let  the  drake  have  a  diamond  tuft  on  his  forehead  !  " 
And  lo  and  behold,  on  the  water  there  were  twelve  ducks 
and  one  drake  swimming ;  one  feather  was  of  gold 
and  one  feather  was  of  silver,  and  the  drake  had  a 
diamond  tuft  on  his  forehead. 

So  there  the  Princess  and  her  husband  lived  without 
grief  or  moil,  and  their  son  grew  up  a  big  lad  and  began 
to  feel  in  himself  a  giant's  strength.  And  he  asked  leave 


! 


278  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

of  his  father  and  mother  to  go  out  into  the  white  world 
and  to  seek  himself  a  bride.  They  gave  him  leave  to  go, 
and  said,  "  Go,  my  son." 

So  he  saddled  his  knightly  horse  and  set  out  on  his 
road  and  way.  And  as  he  journeyed  on  he  met  an  old 
woman  who  said,  "  Hail,  Russian  prince,  where  do  you 
wish  to  go  ?  " 

"  I  am  going,  babushka,1  to  seek  a  bride,  but  I  do  not 
know  where  I  am  to  find  her." 

"  Stay,  I  will  tell  you,  my  child.  Do  you  go  beyond 
the  ocean  into  the  thrice-tenth  kingdom  ;  there  there 
is  a  king's  daughter  so  fair,  that,  if  you  go  through  all  th 
world,  you  will  never  find  any  one  more  beautiful." 

So  the  good  youth  thanked  the  woman,  went  to  t 
seashore,  hired  a  boat,  and  sailed  to  the  thrice-tent 
land.  He  sailed,  maybe  far,  maybe  near,  maybe  long, 
maybe  short — the  tale  is  soon  told  but  the  deed  is  not 
soon  done — and  he  at  last  arrived  at  that  kingdom,  and 
appeared  before  the  king  of  it,  and  asked  for  his  daughter's 
hand  in  marriage. 

Then  the  King  said  to  him,  "  You  are  not  the  only 
suitor  for  my  daughter ;  there  is  another  suitor,  a 
mighty  knight.  If  I  refuse  him  he  will  destroy  all  of  my 
kingdom." 

"But,  if  you  decline  my  offer,  I  will  ravage  your 
kingdom." 

"  What  will  you  ? — you  had  better  measure  your 
strength  with  him :  to  whichever  of  you  conquers  I 
will  give  my  daughter." 

"  Very  well ;  summon  all  the  Tsars  and  Tsarevichi, 
all  the  Kings  and  Korolevichi,  to  see  us  wage  an  honour- 
able holmgang  to  win  your  daughter." 

So  then  hunters  were  sent  out  to  all  cities,  and  one 

year  had  not  gone  by  before  from  all  the  neighbouring 

parts  all  the  Tsars  and  Tsarevichi,  all  the  Kings  and 

1  Grandmother. 


AT  THE  BEHEST  OF  THE  PIKE        279 

Korolevichi  came  together,  as  also  the  Tsar  who  had  put 
his  own  daughter  into  the  barrel  and  sent  her  out  into 
the  sea. 

On  the  day  appointed  all  the  knights  made  ready  for 
a  bloody  holmgang.  They  fought  and  fought,  and  the 
earth  groaned  at  their  blows,  the  forests  bowed  down 
and  the  rivers  rose  in  waves.  The  Tsarevna's  son  first 
overcame  his  opponent  and  cut  off  his  turbulent  head. 

Then  all  the  royal  boydrs  ran  up,  took  the  doughty 
youth  into  their  hands  and  led  him  into  the  palace. 
Next  day  he  was  married  to  the  Korolevna.  And  after 
they  had  feasted  at  the  wedding  he  set  about  inviting  all 
the  Tsars  and  Tsarevichi,  the  Kings  and  the  Korolevichi 
as  his  guests  to  his  father  and  mother.  So  they  all  came 
together,  and  they  got  their  ships  ready  and  sailed  on  the 
sea.  The  Tsarevna  with  her  husband  received  her 
guests  with  honour,  and  they  began  to  celebrate  banquets 
and  to  be  joyous.  The  Tsars  and  the  Tsarevichi,  the 
Kings  and  the  Korolevichi,  gazed  at  the  palace  and  the 
gardens  and  wondered.  They  had  never  seen  such 
wealth.  Then  some  of  them  wondered  when  they  saw 
the  ducks  and  drakes,  every  one  of  them  worth  half  a 
kingdom. 

So  the  guests  were  fed  and  bethought  themselves  of 
going  home,  but  before  ever  they  had  got  to  the  haven, 
swift  hunters  precursed  them,  saying,  "  Our  master  bids 
you  turn  back  again  ;  he  wishes  to  hold  secret  counsel 
with  you." 

So  the  Tsars  and  Tsarevichi,  the  Kings  and  Koro- 
levichi, were  turning  back,  when  the  master  came  to 
meet  them  and  said :  "  Oh  ye  good  folk,  one  of  my 
ducks  has  gone  :  has  any  one  of  you  taken  it  ?  " 

"  Why  are  you  making  a  vain  quest  ?  "  the  Tsars  and 
Tsarevichi,  the  Kings  and  Korolevichi  answered  ;  "  this 
would  be  an  unguestly  act.  Search  us  all  over.  If 
you  find  the  duck  on  any  one  of  us  do  with  him 


28o  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


what  you  will ;  if  you  do  not,  let  your  own  head  pay 
for  it." 

"  I  will,"  said  the  master.  And  he  placed  them  all  in 
a  row  and  searched  them  ;  and,  as  soon  as  he  had  come 
to  the  father  of  the  Tsarevna,  he  said  quietly : 


"  At  the  pike's  good  pleasure, 
At  God's  good  measure — 


I 


under  the  lappet  of  the  kaftan  of  this  Tsar,  let  the  duck 
be  found."  So  he  went  and  lifted  his  kaftan  and  found 
the  duck  tied  to  the  lappet ;  one  feather  was  of  gold, 
one  was  of  silver. 

Then  all  the  Tsars  and  Tsarevichi,  Kings  and  Koro- 
levichi  cried  out  fiercely,  "  Ho  !  ho  !  ho  !  what  a 'deed  ! 
are  Tsars  turning  into  thieves  ?  " 

Then  the  Tsarevna's  father  swore  by  everything  holy 
that  as  to  thieving  there  had  never  been  such  an  idea  in 
his  head.  And  he  had  no  idea  how  the  duck  had  come 
to  him. 

"  That  is  a  fine  tale  ;  it  was  found  on  you  ;  you  must 
be  guilty." 

Then  the  Tsarevna  came  out,  burst  upon  her  father, 
and  acknowledged  that  she  was  his  daughter  whom  he 
had  given  away  to  the  poor  peasant  in  marriage  and  had 
put  into  a  barrel.  "  Bdtyushka"'1  she  said,  "  you  would 
not  then  believe  my  words,  and  now  you  have  acknow- 
ledged yourself  that  it  is  possible  to  be  guilty  without 
guilt." 

And  she  told  him  how  it  had  all  arisen.    And  after  that 
they  began  to  live,  and  lived  all  together  and  lived  al 
for  good  and  forgot  bygones. 

1  Father: 


THE  JOURNEY  TO  JERUSALEM 

AN  archimandrite  one  day  got  up  for  matins  ;  and, 
whilst  laving  his  hands,  saw  an  unclean  spirit  in  the 
Holy  Water,  seized  him  and  crossed  him. 

The  devil  besought  him :  "  Let  me  go,  Father,  I  will 
do  you  any  service  I  can  ;  I  will,  I  will !  " 

So  the  Archimandrite  said :  "  Will  you  take  me  to 
Jerusalem  between  High  Mass  and  matins  ?  " 

The  Archimandrite  released  him,  and  after  matins  was 
transported  to  Jerusalem,  and  was  back  in  time  for  High 
Mass.  Then  inquiries  were  set  going  how  this  might 
be,  and  every  one  was  astonished  how  he  could  get  to 
Jerusalem  and  back  so  fast.  They  asked  him  about  it, 
and  he  told  them  the  story. 


281 


VAZtfZA  AND  VOLGA 

THE  Volga  and  the  Vazuza  had  a  long  argument  whether 
who  was  the  wiser  and  the  stronger  and  the  more  honour- 
able of  the  two.  They  contended  and  quarrelled,  and 
could  not  decide  it.  So  they  resolved  at  last :  "  Let  us 
both  go  to  sleep  at  the  same  time,  and  the  one  which 
wakes  up  earlier  and  first  reaches  the  Khvalynsk  Sea  is 
wiser  and  stronger  and  the  more  honourable." 

So  the  Volga  went  to  sleep,  and  so  did  the  Vazuza. 

But  at  night  the  Vazuza  got  up  quietly  and  ran  away 
from  the  Volga  ;  she  took  the  next  nearest  way  and 
flowed  off. 

When  the  Volga  woke  up  she  went  neither  hurriedly 
nor  lagging,  but  in  an  ordinary  fashion.  At  Zubtsov  she 
overtook  the  Vazuza,  and  looked  so  threatening  that  the 
Vazuza  was  frightened,  and  owned  she  was  the  younger 
daughter,  and  begged  the  Volga  to  take  her  in  her  arms 
into  the  Sea  of  Khvalynsk. 

And,  to  this  day,  the  Vazuza  wakes  up  in  the  spring 
before  the  Volga,  and  wakes  the  Volga  up  out  of  her 
winter  sleep. 


282 


THE   ENCHANTED   TSAREVICH 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  merchant  who  had  three 
daughters :  it  so  happened  he  had  one  day  to  go  to 
strange  countries  to  buy  wares,  and  so  he  asked  his 
daughters,  "  What  shall  I  bring  you  from  beyond  the 
seas  ?  " 

The  eldest  asked  for  a  new  coat,  and  the  next  one  also 
asked  for  a  new  coat ;  but  the  youngest  one  only  took  a 
sheet  of  paper  and  sketched  a  flower  on  it :  "  Bring  me, 
latyushka,1  a  flower  like  this  !  " 

So  the  merchant  went  and  made  a  long  journey  to 
foreign  kingdoms,  but  he  could  never  see  such  a  flower. 
So  he  came  back  home,  and  he  saw  on  his  way  a  splendid 
lofty  palace  with  watch-towers,  turrets,  and  a  garden.  He 
went  a  walk  in  the  garden,  and  you  cannot  imagine  how 
many  trees  he  saw  and  flowers,  every  flower  fairer  than  the 
other  flowers.  And  then  he  looked  and  he  saw  a  single  one 
like  the  one  which  his  daughter  had  sketched.  "  Oh," 
he  said,  "  I  will  tear  off  and  bring  this  to  my  beloved 
daughter :  evidently  there  is  nobody  here  to  watch  me." 
So  he  ran  up  and  broke  it  off,  and  as  soon  as  he  had  done 
it,  in  that  very  instant  a  boisterous  wind  arose  and 
thunder  thundered,  and  a  fearful  monster  stood  in  front 
of  him,  a  formless,  winged  snake  with  three  heads. 

"  How  dared  you  play  the  master  in  my  garden  !  " 
cried  the  snake  to .  the  merchant.  "  Why  have  you 
broken  off  a  blossom  ?  " 

The  merchant  was  frightened,  fell  on  his  knees  and 
besought  pardon. 

1  Father. 

283 


284  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Very  well,"  said  the  snake,  "  I  will  forgive  you,  but 
on  condition  that  whoever  meets  you  first,  when  you 
reach  home,  you  must  give  me  for  all  eternity  ;  and,  if 
you  deceive  me,  do  not  forget,  nobody  can  ever  hide 
himself  from  me :  I  shall  find  you  wherever  you  are." 

The  merchant  agreed  to  the  condition  and  came  back 
home. 

And  the  youngest  daughter  saw  him  from  the  window 
and  ran  out  to  meet  him.  Then  the  merchant  hung  his 
head,  looked  at  his  beloved  daughter,  and  began  to  shed 
bitter  tears. 

"  What  is  the  matter  with  you  ?  why  are  you  weeping, 
bdtyusbka  ?  " 

He  gave  her  the  blossom  and  told  what  had  befallen 
him. 

"  Do  not  grieve,  bdtyushka"  said  the  youngest 
daughter,  "  it  is  God's  gift :  perhaps  I  shall  fare  well. 
Take  me  to  the  snake." 

So  the  father  took  her  away,  set  her  in  the  palace, 
bade  farewell,  and  set  out  home. 

Then  the  fair  maiden,  the  daughter  of  the  merchant, 
went  in  the  different  rooms,  and  beheld  everywhere  gold 
and  velvet ;  but  no  one  was  there  to  be  seen,  not  a  single 
human  soul. 

Time  went  by  and  went  by,  and  the  fair  damsel 
became  hungry  and  thought,  "  Oh,  if  I  could  only  have 
something  to  eat !  "  But  before  ever  she  had  thought, 
in  front  of  her  stood  a  table,  and  on  the  table  were  dishes 
and  drinks  and  refreshments :  the  only  thing  that  was 
not  there  was  birds'  milk.  Then  she  sat  down  to  the 
table,  drank  and  ate,  got  up,  and  it  had  all  vanished. 

Darkness  now  came  on,  and  the  merchant's  daughter 
went  into  the  bedroom,  wishing  to  lie  down  and  sleep. 
Then  a  boisterous  wind  rustled  round  and  the  three- 
headed  snake  appeared  in  front  of  her. 

"  Hail,  fair  maiden  !  put  my  bed  outside  this  door  !  " 


THE   ENCHANTED   TSAREVICH         285 

So  the  fair  maiden  put  the  bed  outside  the  door  and 
herself  lay  on  the  bedstead. 

She  awoke  in  the  morning,  and  again  in  the  entire 
house  there  was  not  a  single  soul  to  be  seen.  And  it  all 
went  well  with  her :  whatever  she  wished  for  appeared 
on  the  spot. 

In  the  evening  the  snake  flew  to  her  and  ordered, 
"  Now,  fair  maiden,  put  my  bed  next  to  your  bedstead." 

She  then  laid  it  next  to  her  bedstead,  and  the  night 
went  by,  and  the  maiden  awoke,  and  again  there  was 
never  a  soul  in  the  palace. 

And  for  the  third  time  the  snake  came  in  the  evening 
and  said,  "  Now,  fair  maiden,  I  am  going  to  lie  with  you 
in  the  bedstead." 

The  merchant's  daughter  was  fearfully  afraid  of  lying 
on  a  single  bed  with  such  a  formless  monster.  But  she 
could  not  help  herself,  so  she  strengthened  her  heart  and 
lay  down  with  him. 

In  the  morning  the  serpent  said  to  her,  "  If  you  are 
now  weary,  fair  maiden,  go  to  your  father  and  your 
sisters :  spend  a  day  with  them,  and  in  the  evening  come 
back  to  me.  But  see  to  it  that  you  are  not  late.  If  you 
are  one  single  minute  late  I  shall  die  of  grief." 

"  No,  I  shall  not  be  late,"  said  the  maiden,  the  mer- 
chant's daughter,  and  descended  the  steps  ;  there  was 
a  barouche  ready  for  her,  and  she  sat  down.  That  very 
instant  she  arrived  at  her  father's  courtyard. 

Then  the  father  saw,  welcomed,  kissed  her,  and  asked 
her,  "  How  has  God  been  dealing  with  you,  my  beloved 
daughter  ?  Has  it  been  well  with  you  ?  " 

"  Very  well,  father  !  "  And  she  started  telling  of  all 
the  wealth  there  was  in  the  palace,  how  the  snake  loved 
her,  how  whatever  she  only  thought  of  was  in  that  in- 
stant fulfilled. 

The  sisters  heard,  and  did  not  know  what  to  do  out  of 
sheer  envy. 


286  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Now  the  day  was  ebbing  away,  and  the  fair  maiden 
made  ready  to  go  back,  and  was  bidding  farewell  to  her 
father  and  her  sisters,  saying,  "  This  is  the  time  I  must 
go  back :  I  was  bidden  keep  to  my  term." 

But  the  envious  sisters  rubbed  onions  on  their  eyes  and 
made  as  though  they  were  weeping :  "  Do  not  go  away, 
sister  ;  stay  until  to-morrow." 

She  was  very  sorry  for  her  sisters,  and  stayed  one  day 
more. 

In  the  morning  she  bade  farewell  to  them  all  and  went 
to  the  palace.  When  she  arrived  it  was  as  empty  as  before. 
She  went  into  the  garden,  and  she  saw  the  serpent  lying 
dead  in  the  pond  !  He  had  thrown  himself  for  sheer 
grief  into  the  water. 

"  Oh,  my  God,  what  have  I  done  !  "  cried  out  the 
fair  maiden,  and  she  wept  bitter  tears,  ran  up  to  the 
pond,  hauled  the  snake  out  of  the  water,  embraced  one 
head  and  kissed  it  with  all  her  might.  And  the  snake 
trembled,  and  in  a  minute  turned  into  a  good  youth. 

"  I  thank  you,  fair  maiden,"  he  said.  "  You  have 
saved  me  from  the  greatest  misfortune.  I  am  no  snake, 
but  an  enchanted  Prince." 

Then  they  went  back  to  the  merchant's  house,  were 
betrothed,  lived  long,  and  lived  for  good  and  happy 
things. 


THE    SNAKE   PRINCESS 

A  COSSACK  was  going  on  his  road  and  way,  and  he  arrived 
in  the  sleepy  forest,  and  in  that  forest,  in  a  glade,  stood 
a  hayrick.  So  the  Cossack  stood  in  front  just  to  have  a 
little  rest,  lay  down  in  front  of  the  hayrick  and  smoked 
his  pipe,  went  on  smoking,  smoking,  and  never  saw  that 
a  spark  had  fallen  into  the  hay.  After  his  rest  he  again 
mounted  his  horse  and  went  on  his  road. 

But  he  had  gone  only  some  dozen  paces,  when  a  flame 
blazed  out  and  lit  up  the  wood.  Then  the  Cossack 
looked  back  steadily,  and  saw  the  hayrick  burning,  and 
in  the  middle  of  the  flame  a  fair  maiden  standing,  saying 
in  a  threatening  voice,  "  Cossack,  good  man,  save  me 
from  death  !  " 

"  How  shall  I  save  you  ?  I  see  flames  all  around  and 
cannot  get  up  to  you." 

"  Thrust  your  pike  into  the  flame :  I  will  jump  out 
on  to  it." 

So  the  Cossack  thrust  his  pike  into  the  flame  and  leapt 
to  avoid  the  great  heat.  Then  the  fair  maiden  turned 
into  a  snake,  crept  on  to  the  pike,  crawled  round  the 
Cossack's  neck,  coiled  herself  round  his  neck  three  times 
and  put  her  tail  between  her  mouth.  The  Cossack  was 
frightened  and  had  no  notion  what  he  should  do  or 
what  should  come  to  him. 

Then  the  snake  spoke  to  him  in  a  human  voice :  "Do 
not  be  frightened,  good  youth ;  bear  me  on  your  neck 
for  seven  years,  and  go  to  seek  the  Kingdom  of  Tin : 
when  you  arrive  in  that  kingdom  stay  there  and  live 
there  seven  years  more,  and  do  not  ever  leave  it :  if  you 
serve  this  service  you  shall  be  happy." 

287 


288  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


ETin: 


So  the  Cossack  went  to  look  for  the  Kingdom  of 
much  time  went  by,  much  water  flowed  in  the  river, 
and  at  the  end  of  the  seventh  year  he  at  last  reached  a 
steep  mountain,  and  on  that  mountain  stood  a  castle  of 
tin,  and  around  the  castle  was  a  lofty  white  stone  wall. 
So  he  climbed  up  the  mountain,  and  the  wall  opened 
in  front  of  him,  and  he  arrived  at  a  broad  courtyard. 
At  that  same  instant  the  snake  disentangled  herself  from 
his  neck,  struck  the  grey  earth,  and  turned  into  the 
maiden  of  his  soul,  vanished  from  his  eyes  as  though  she 
had  never  been  there. 

The  Cossack  stabled  his  horse,  went  into  the  palace, 
and  began  looking  at  the  rooms :  there  were  looking- 
glasses  all  about,  silver  and  velvet,  but  never  a  soul  of  a 
man  to  be  seen.  "  Ah  !  "  thought  the  Cossack,  "  Wher- 
ever have  I  got  to  ?  Who  will  give  me  food  and  drink  ? 
I  must  here  die  of  thirst  and  hunger."  And  whilst  he 
was  thinking  this,  lo  and  behold  !  in  front  of  him  stood 
a  covered  table,  and  on  the  table  was  food  and  drink, 
enough  for  all.  So  he  tasted  what  he  would,  drank  what 
he  would,  strengthened  his  body,  and  thought  of  mount- 
ing on  his  horse  to  survey.  He  went  into  the  stable,  and 
the  horse  was  standing  in  the  stall  and  was  eagerly 
devouring  oats. 

Well,  this  affair  had  turned  out  very  well  after  all ; 
possibly  he  might  go  on  living  without  any  suffering. 
So  the  Cossack  stayed  for  a  very,  very  long  time  in  the 
tin  castle,  until  he  became  wearied  unto  death :  it  might 
be  a  joke,  but  he  was  always  alone  and  could  never 
exchange  as  much  as  a  whisper  with  anybody.  So,  from 
sheer  grief,  he  drank  himself  drunk  and  thought  he  would 
go  out  into  the  free  world.  But  wherever  he  ventured 
forth  there  were  lofty  walls,  with  neither  an  entrance 
nor  an  exit.  So  he  grew  very  angry,  and  the  doughty 
youth  took  his  cudgel,  went  into  the  palace  and  began 
knocking  about  the  looking-glasses  and  mirrors,  tearing 


THE    SNAKE   PRINCESS  289 

up  the  velvet,  breaking  the  chairs,  shattering  the  silver. 
Possibly,  he  thought,  the  owner  might  come  and  let  him 
free.  But  no,  never  a  soul  appeared  ! 

Then  the  Cossack  lay  down  to  sleep.  Next  day  he 
woke  up,  went  for  a  walk  and  a  saunter,  and  he  thought 
he  would  like  to  have  some  food,  and  he  looked  around : 
there  was  nothing  to  be  had.  "  Ah  !  "  he  thought,  "  The 
slave  rains  on  herself  the  blows  if  unfaithfully  she  mows. 
I  smoked  to  death  yesterday,  and  to-day  I  must  starve." 
He  had  despaired.  And  that  very  instant  food  and  drink 
stood  ready  for  him. 

Three  days  went  by :  the  Cossack  slept  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  then  looked  out  of  the  window,  and  his  good 
horse  stood  saddled  at  the  steps.  What  did  that  mean  ? 
So  he  washed  and  dressed,  prayed  to  God,  took  his  long 
pike  and  went  into  the  open  courtyard. 

Suddenly,  from  somewhere  or  other,  the  fair  maiden 
appeared  and  said,  "  Health  to  you,  good  youth :  the 
seven  years  are  over.  You  saved  me  from  my  perdition 
and  my  end.  Now,  listen  to  me  :  I  am  a  king's  daughter  ; 
Koshchey  the  Deathless  fell  in  love  with  me,  took  me 
away  from  my  father  and  from  my  mother,  wished  to 
marry  me,  but  I  always  laughed  at  him.  Then  he  grew 
angry,  and  he  turned  me  into  a  wild  snake  :  I  thank  you 
for  your  long  service.  We  will  fare  forth  to  my  father's 
court ;  he  will  wish  to  reward  you  with  gold  from  his 
treasury  and  with  precious  stones :  but  do  you  take 
nothing  of  them.  Simply  ask  for  the  keg  which  is  lying 
in  his  cellar." 

"  But  what  is  the  use  of  that  ?  " 

"  If  you  turn  that  keg  to  the  right  a  palace  appears 
forthwith,  if  you  turn  it  to  the  left,  it  vanishes." 

"  Very  well,"  said  the  Cossack. 

So  he  mounted  his  steed,  set  himself  and  the  fair 
i  princess  on  it,  and  the  lofty  walls  moved  away  from 
i  before  him,  and  they  set  out  on  their  road  and  way. 


290  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


J  *  1 


May  be  long,  may  be  short,  at  last  they  arrived  at  the 
kingdom  named :  the  king  saw  his  daughter  and  was 
overjoyed,  began  expressing  his  thanks  and  gave  the 
Cossack  sacks  full  of  gold  and  pearls :  but  the  doughty 
youth  answered  him,  "  I  desire  neither  gold  nor  pearls, 
give  me  as  a  remembrance  of  you  simply  the  keg  which 
is  lying  in  your  cellar." 

"  You  ask  for  a  great  gift,  brother  ;  but  I  must  do 
what  you  say,  for  my  daughter  is  dearer  to  me  than  all 
else  that  I  have  here.  I  do  not  regret  the  barrel ;  take 
it  and  go  with  God." 

So  the  Cossack  took  the  royal  gift  and  set  out  to  roam 
through  the  white  world.  He  went  on  and  on,  and  he 
met  an  ancient  old  man  on  the  way :  the  old  man  an- 
swered him,  "  Give  me  food  and  drink,  good  youth  !  " 

So  the  Cossack  leapt  from  his  horse,  undid  the  keg, 
turned  it  to  the  right,  and  a  miraculous  palace  appeared 
on  the  spot :  both  of  them  went  into  the  painted  rooms 
and  sat  on  covered  chairs.  "  Ho,  ye  my  faithful  ser- 
vants !  "  cried  out  the  Cossack,  "  give  food  and  drink 
to  this  guest."  Before  ever  the  words  were  uttered,  the 
servants  brought  an  entire  ox  and  three  casks  of  beer. 

The  old  man  set  to  and  gourmandised,  making  the 
best  of  it.  He  ate  the  entire  ox,  and  he  drank  the  three 
casks  of  beer,  croaked  and  said,  "  That  was  a  small  gift : 
still  I  cannot  help  it.  I  thank  you  for  the  bread  and 
salt."  Then  they  went  out  of  the  palace,  and  the  Cossack 
turned  his  keg  to  the  left,  and  there  was  no  sign  of  the 
palace. 

"  Let  us  exchange,"  said  the  old  man  to  the  Cossack. 
"  I  will  give  you  a  sword,  and  you  give  me  the  keg  :  what 
is  the  use  of  the  keg  to  you  ?  This  is  a  sword  which  slays 
of  itself :  you  need  only  wave  it,  and  however  incalcu- 
lable the  force  may  be  it  will  slay  them  all  in  front  of  it. 
You  see  that  forest  ?  Shall  I  show  you  what  it  can  do  ? 
Then  the  old  man  drew  his  sword  and  said  to  it,  "  Set 


THE   SNAKE   PRINCESS 


291 


work,  self-slaying  sword,  and  despoil  all  the  dreamy 
forest."  So  the  sword  flew  out  of  his  hands,  cut  down 
the  trees,  and  laid  them  all  down  in  regular  boards. 
Then,  after  it  had  cut  them  down,  it  came  back  to  its 
master. 

So  the  Cossack  did  not  long  bethink  him,  but  gave 
the  old  man  his  keg  and  took  the  self-slaying  sword, 
waved  the  sword,  and  killed  the  old  man.  Then  he  tied 
the  keg  to  his  saddle,  mounted  his  horse,  and  thought  he 
would  go  back  to  the  King.  But  just  then  a  terrible 
enemy  was  besieging  the  capital  city  of  that  King,  and 
the  Cossack  saw  an  incalculable  host  and  array,  waved 
his  sword  and  said,  "  Self -slaying  sword,  serve  me  a 
service  and  spill  the  hostile  host."  And  then  there  was 
a  fine  sight — heads  flying  about,  blood  flowing  freely — 
and  within  one  hour  all  the  field  was  covered  with 
corpses. 

Then  the  King  came  out,  kissed  him,  and  decided  to 
give  him  the  fair  princess  to  wife. 

It  was  a  gorgeous  wedding.  I  was  there  at  the  wed- 
ding. I  drank  mead  and  wine :  it  flowed  up  to  my 
whiskers,  but  it  never  entered  my  mouth. 


BEER  AND  BREAD 

/  IN  a  certain  kingdom,  in  a  certain  State,  there  once 
/     lived  a  rich  peasant,  and  he  had  much  money  and  bread  ; 
he  used  to  lend  money  on  interest  to  the  poor  husband- 
men of  his  village.    Aiid,  if  he  gave  corn,  then  it  had  to 
I      be  returned  in  full  in  the  summer  ;   and  in  addition  to 
V     that,  for  every  three  pecks  the  debtor  had  to  work  two 
\  days  on  the  lord's  field.     „ 

And  one  day  it  happened  that  there  was  a  festival  in 
the  Church,  and  the  peasants  began  brewing  beer  for 
the  feast.  But  in  this  village  there  was  a  peasant  who 
was  so  poor  that  there  was  no  poorer  to  be  found.  And 
there  he  sat  in  the  evening  with  his  wife  on  the  eve  of 
the  festival  in  his  little  hut.  He  was  thinking :  "  What 
shall  I  do  ?  All  the  good  folk  are  now  gadding  about 
making  merry,  and  we  have  not  a  crust  of  bread  in  our 
house.  I  might  have  gone  to  the  rich  man  and  asked 
him  for  a  loan  ;  but  he  would  not  trust  me.  Now  what 
shall  I  do,  I  so  woebegone  !  "  And  he  thought  and 
thought,  and  he  left  the  bench  and  stood  in  front  of  the 
icon,  and  sighed  a  heavy  sigh.  "  Lord,"  he  said,  "  have 
forgiveness  on  my  sins,  for  I  cannot  buy  any  oil  with 
which  to  fill  the  lamp  in  front  of  Thy  icon  for  Thy 
feast." 

And  after  a  little  while,  an  old  man  came  into  the  hut 

"  Hail,  master,"  he  said.     "  Hail,  old  man  !     Can 
stay  the  night  here  ?  " 

"  If  you   will.      Stay  the   night   if   you   like.      Bu1 
Gossip,  I  have  not  a  crust  of  bread  in  my  house,  and 
cannot  feed  you." 

292 


BEER  AND  BREAD  293 

"  Never  mind,  master,  I  have  three  crusts  of  bread, 
and  meat :  give  me  a  ladle  of  water.  I  will  take  a  taste 
of  the  loaf  and  a  sup  of  the  water,  and  we  shall  be 
satisfied." 

So  the  old  man  sat  down  on  the  bench,  and  spoke. 

"  Why  are  you  so  sad,  master  ?  What  has  made  you 
melancholy  ?  " 

"  Old  man,"  the  master  answered,  "  why  should  I 
not  be  heavy  ? — it  is  God's  gift.  We  were  so  looking 
forward  to  the  feast.  All  the  good  folk  are  making  merry 
and  rejoicing,  but  we  are  clean  swept  out.  All  around 
me  and  within  there  is  emptiness." 

"  Well,  be  of  good  cheer,"  said  the  old  man  ;  "  go  to 
the  rich  peasant  and  ask  whatever  you  require  of  him  as 


a  debt.': 


"  No,  I  cannot  go,  for  he  will  not  give  it." 

"  Go,"  the  old  man  insisted.  "  Fear  nothing.  Ask 
him  for  three  pecks  of  malt,  and  we  will  brew  the  beer 
together." 

"  But  it  is  so  late.  How  shall  we  brew  beer  ? — the 
feast  is  to  be  to-morrow." 

"  Do  what  I  say.  Go  to  the  rich  peasant  and  ask  for 
the  three  pecks  of  malt.  He  will  give  it  you  at  once. 
No,  he  cannot  refuse  it.  And  to-morrow  you  shall  have 
beer  so  good  at  the  feast — better  than  any  you  shall 
find  throughout  the  village." 

What  could  the  poor  man  say  ?  He  got  up,  took  his 
sack  under  his  arm,  and  went  up  to  the  rich  peasant. 

He  went  into  the  rich  man's  izbd^-  bowed  down, 
besought  him  by  his  name  and  his  father's  name,  and 
asked  him  for  the  loan  of  three  pecks  of  malt,  as  he 
wanted  to  brew  beer  for  the  festival. 

"  Why  did  you  not  think  of  it  sooner  ?  "  the  rich  man 
replied.  "  How  can  you  do  it  now,  for  this  is  the  eve  of 
the  festival  ?  " 

1  Hut. 


294  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


'"  Never  mind,  Gossip,"  the  poor  man  replied  ;  "  if 
you  will  be  so  good,  I  and  my  wife  will  still  brew  some- 
thing together,  and  can  drink  together  and  celebrate 
the  festival." 

The  rich  man  gave  him  three  pecks  of  malt  and  poured 
them  into  his  sack.  The  poor  man  lifted  the  sack  on  to 
his  shoulders  and  went  home  and  recounted  how  things 
had  gone. 

"  Now,  master,"  his  old  guest  said,  "  you  shall  have  a 
feast.  Is  there  a  well  at  your  door  ?  " 

"  There  is,"  said  the  peasant. 

"  Well,  we  will  go  to  your  well  and  brew  the  beer. 
Bring  your  sack  and  follow  me." 

So  they  went  out  to  the  courtyard  up  to  the  well. 

"  Pour  it  all  in  there,"  the  old  man  said. 

"  Why  should  we  hurl  all  this  good  stuff  into  the  well  ?  " 
the  master  replied,  "  for  there  are  only  three  pecks,  and 
it  will  all  be  thrown  away  for  nothing." 

"  It  is  the  best  thing  you  can  do." 

"  We  shall  not  do  any  good — we  shall  only  sully  the 
water." 

"  Listen  to  me,  and  do  what  I  say :  there  is  nothing 
to  fear." 

So  what  could  he  do  ?    He  simply  had  to  pour  all 
malt  into  the  well. 

"  Now,"  the  old  man  said,  "  formerly  there  was  water 
in  the  well,  and  to-morrow  it  will  be  beer.  Now,  master, 
we  will  go  into  the  izba1  and  lie  down  to  sleep,  for  the 
morning  is  wiser  than  the  evening,  and  to-morrow  you 
will  have  such  good  beer  for  dinner  that  one  glass  wil 
make  you  drunk." 

So  they  waited  until  the  morning,  and  then  whei 
dinner-time   came   round   the   old   man   said :    " 
master,  get  as  many  tubs  as  you  can,  and  stand  thei 
round  the  well  and  fill  them  all  full  of  beer,  and  the 

1  Hut. 


BEER  AND  BREAD  295 

call  every  one  in  to  drink,  and  you  shall  have  a  really 
riotous  feast." 

And  the  peasant  went  and  called  all  his  neighbours 
and  asked  for  tubs. 

"  What  do  you  want  all  these  tubs  and  pails  for  ?  " 
they  asked  him. 

"  Oh,  I  really  want  them  at  once,  as  I  have  not  vessels 
enough  to  hold  my  beer." 

And  the  neighbours  whispered  :  "  What  on  earth  does 
he  mean  ?  Is  the  good  fellow  gone  mad  ?  There  is  not 
a  crust  of  bread  in  his  house,  and  he  is  still  chattering 
about  beer." 

Well,  somehow  or  other,  he  got  twenty  pails  and  tubs 
together,  put  them  all  round  the  well,  and  began  to 
haul  them  up.  And  the  beer  turned  out  so  fine,  finer 
than  ever  anybody  could  think  or  guess,  or  any  tale 
could  tell.  And  he  filled  all  the  tubs  to  the  very  brim, 
and  the  well  was  as  full  as  ever.  And  he  began  to  cry 
out  aloud  and  to  call  guests  to  his  door. 

"  Come  to  me,  good  Christians,  and  drink  strong 
beer  here,  such  beer  as  you  never  saw  in  your  life  !  " 

And  the  people  looked  round.  "  What  on  earth  was 
he  up  to  ?  Surely  you  take  water  out  of  a  well,  and  he 
calls  it  beer  ?  Anyhow,  let's  go  and  see,  whatever 
knavery  it  may  be."  So  they  all  rushed  up  to  the  tubs, 
and  they  began  to  ladle  it  out  and  to  look  at  it.  Evi- 
dently, after  all,  it  must  be  beer.  And  they  said : 
"  Such  beer  we  have  never  drunk  before  !  "  His  court- 
yard was  full  of  the  village  folk.  And  the  master  was 
not  at  a  loss  to  ladle  beer  out  of  the  well  for  himself, 
and  treated  all  of  his  guests  right  royally. 

When  the  rich  peasant  heard  of  this,  he  came  to  the 
poor  man's  courtyard,  tasted  the  beer,  and  began  to  ask 
the  poor  man  :  "  Please  to  tell  me  how  ever  you  managed 
to  make  such  magnificent  beer  ?  " 

"  Oh,  there  was  not  any  cleverness  about  it,"  the  poor 


296  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

man  answered.  "  It  is  the  simplest  thing  in  the  world. 
When  I  took  your  three  pecks  from  you  I  simply  went 
and  threw  them  into  the  well.  Formerly  it  was  water 
and  in  a  single  night  it  all  became  beer." 

"  Well,"  the  rich  man  thought,  "  I  will  go  home  an 
I  will  do  the  same." 

So  he  went  home,  and  he  ordered  all  of  his  servants  to 
take  all  of  the  best  malt  out  of  his  granaries,  and  throw 
it  into  the  well.  And  his  husbandmen  threw  ten  sacks 
of  malt  into  the  well. 

"  Now,"  the  rich  man  said,  and  rubbed  his  hands, 
"  I  shall  have  finer  beer  than  the  poor  man." 

So  the  next  time  he  went  out  to  his  courtyard  and  up 
to  the  well,  sampled  it,  and  looked.  It  was  water  before, 
and  it  was  still  water  ;  only  it  was  rather  dirtier.  "  I 
don't  quite  understand  this :  I  put  too  little  malt  into 
it,  so  I  will  add  some  more,"  the  rich  man  thought,  and 
he  ordered  his  workmen  to  put  five  more  sacks  into  the 
well.  They  were  all  thrown  in,  and  it  was  all  no  good : 
he  had  simply  wasted  all  of  his  malt. 

And  when  the  feast  had  passed  by  the  water  in  the 
poor  peasant's  well  was  as  pure  as  ever,  just  as  if  nothing 
had  happened. 

Once  again  the  old  man  came  to  the  poor  peasant  and 
said :  "  Listen,  master,  have  you  sown  your  corn  this 
year  ?  " 

"  No,  grandfather,  I  have  not  sown  a  single  grain." 

"  Well,  now  go  to  the  rich  man  and  ask  him  for  three 
pecks  of  every  kind  of  corn.     We  will  eat  with  you  i 
the  fields,  and  we  will  then  sow  the  corn." 

"  How  shall  we  sow  it  now  ?  "  the  poor  man  answere 
"It  is  now  the  very  midst  of  winter  and  the  frost 
crackling." 

"  Never  mind  about  that.     Go  and  do  as  I  say. 
brewed  you  beer,  and  I  will  sow  you  corn." 

So  the  poor  man  went  once  more  to  the  rich  peasan 


BEER  AND  BREAD  297 

and  asked  him  as  a  debt  for  three  pecks  of  every  kind 
of  corn.  When  he  came  back  he  told  his  aged  guest: 

"  Here  it  all  is,  grandfather." 

So  they  went  outside  to  the  fields,  scattered  it  accord- 
ing to  its  nature  on  the  peasant's  lots ;  and  lo  and  behold  ! 
they  went  and  threw  all  the  grains  on  the  white  snow — 
every  single  grain. 

The  old  man  said  to  the  peasant :  "  Go  home  and  wait 
until  the  summer  ;  you  will  have  bread  enough." 

So  the  poor  man  went  to  his  hut  and  became  the 
laughing-stock  of  the  village  for  sowing  his  corn  in  the 
winter.  "  Look  at  him  !  What  a  fool  he  is  !  He  has 
forgotten  when  he  ought  to  sow :  he  didn't  think  of 
sowing  in  the  autumn."  He  never  minded,  but  waited 
for  the  spring,  and  the  warm  days  came,  and  the  snow 
melted,  and  the  grain  sprouts  appeared. 

"  Come  now,"  the  poor  man  said,  "  I  will  go  and  see 
what  my  stretch  of  land  looks  like."  So  he  went  to  his 
stretch  of  land  and  saw  such  splendid  blades  of  corn,  at 
which  any  soul  might  rejoice.  And  on  all  the  acres  of 
the  others  it  was  not  half  as  fine.  "  Glory  be  to  God  !  " 
the  peasant  cried  ;  "  I  am  now  looking  up  !  " 

Soon  the  time  of  harvest  came  by,  and  all  good  folk 
began  to  gather  their  corn,  and  the  old  man  also  went 
and  busied  himself,  and  called  his  wife  to  help  him. 
And  he  could  not  get  through,  but  had  to  summon  for 
the  harvesting  all  the  husbandmen,  and  to  give  half  of 
his  corn  away ;  and  all  the  peasants  were  astonished  at 
the  poor  man,  for  he  had  not  sown  his  land,  but  had 
scattered  the  seeds  in  the  winter  and  his  corn  had  been 
splendid.  The  poor  peasant  had  put  his  affairs  straight 
and  had  managed  to  live  without  any  trouble  ;  and 
whatever  he  required  for  his  household,  he  went  into 
the  town,  sold  quarters  and  quarters  of  corn,  and 
bought  whatever  he  required,  and  repaid  the  rich 
peasant  his  debt  in  full. 


298  RUSSIAN  FOLKXTALES 


Then  the  rich  peasant  began  to  think :  "  Heigh-ho  ! 
I  shall  also  begin  sowing  in  the  winter  ;  possibly  I  shall 
have  corn  as  fine."  So  he  waited  to  the  very  day  on 
which  the  poor  peasant  in  the  previous  year  had  sown 
his  corn,  went  and  took  from  his  bins  quarters  of  different 
sorts  of  corn,  went  out  into  the  fields  and  scattered  it  all 
on  the  snow.  He  covered  the  fields  entirely,  but  a  storm 
arose  at  night,  and  mighty  winds  blew,  and  wafted  all 
the  corn  from  his  land  away  on  to  the  other  fields. 

Then  there  came  a  fine  spring,  and  the  rich  man  went 
to  his  fields  and  saw  them  bare,  and  saw  that  his  own 
land  was  naked  and  waste  ;  there  was  not  a  single  blade 
that  appeared,  and  on  all  the  other  strips  where  there 
had  been  no  ploughing  and  no  sowing,  you  never  saw 
such  a  fine  green  crop  !  Then  the  rich  man  began  to 
think :  "  Lord,  I  have  spent  much  on  corn,  and  it  has 
all  been  in  vain,  and  my  debtors  have  all  neither  ploughed 
nor  sown,  and  their  corn  grows  of  itself.  Needs  I  must 
be  a  great  sinner  !  " 


SORROW 

NCE  upon  a  time,  in  a  wretched  village,  there  lived  two 
asants,  who  were  own  brothers.  One  was  poor,  how- 
er,  and  the  other  rich.  The  rich  man  settled  in  the 
>wn,  built  himself  a  fine  house,  and  became  a  merchant, 
metimes  the  poor  brother  had  not  a  crumb  of  bread 
d  the  children  (each  of  whom  was  smaller  than  the 
hers)  cried  and  begged  for  something  to  eat.  From 
orning  to  evening  the  peasant  trudged  away  like  a  fish 
ice,  but  it  was  all  of  no  good. 
One  day  he  said  to  his  wife :  "  I  am  going  into  the 

town,  in  order  to  beg  my  brother  to  help  me." 

So  he  came  to  the  rich  man  and  asked  him  :   "  Brother, 

help  me  in  my  sorrow,  for  my  wife  and  children  sit  at 

home  without  any  bread  and  are  starving." 

"  If  you  will  work  for   me   this  week  I  will   help 

you." 

What  was  the  poor  fellow  to  do  ?     He  set  to  work, 

cleaned  out  the  courtyard,  groomed  the  horses,  carried 

the  water,  hewed  the  wood.    When  the  week  had  gone 

by  the  rich  man  gave  him  a  loaf  of  bread.    "  There,  you 

have  a  reward  for  your  pains." 

"  I  thank  you  for  it,"  said  the  poor  man,  and  bowed 

down,  and  was  going  home. 

"  Stay,"  the  rich  brother  said  to  him :    "  Come  with 

your  wife  to-morrow  and  be  my  guests.     To-morrow  is 

my  name-day." 

"  Oh,  brother,  how  can  I  ?    As  you  know,  merchants 

who  wear  boots  and  furs  come  to  see  you,  whilst  I  have 

only  bast  shoes,  and  I  only  have  my  grey  coat." 

299 


300  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  Never  mind  !  Come  to-morrow  ;  I  shall  still  have 
room  for  you." 

"  Good  brother  !    I  will  come." 

So  the  poor  man  went  home,  gave  his  wife  the  loaf  of 
bread,  and  said :  "  Listen,  wife.  To-morrow  you  and 
I  are  to  be  guests." 

"  Who  has  asked  us  ?  " 

"  My  brother.    To-morrow  is  his  name-day." 

"  All  right,  let's  go." 

Next  day  they  got  up  and  went  into  the  town.  They 
came  to  the  rich  man's  door,  greeted  him,  and  sat  down 
on  a  bench.  And  at  table  there  were  many  guests,  and 
the  master  of  the  house  entertained  them  all  magnifi- 
cently. Only  he  forgot  the  poor  brother  and  his  wife, 
and  he  gave  them  nothing.  They  sat  there,  and  could 
only  look  at  the  others  eating  and  drinking.  When  the 
meal  was  over  the  guests  rose  from  table  and  bowed 
their  thanks  to  the  master  and  mistress,  and  the  poor 
man  also  stood  up  from  his  bench  and  bowed  down  deep 
before  his  brother ;  and  the  guests  went  home  drunken 
and  merry,  noisily  singing  songs. 

But  the  poor  man  went  home  with  an  empty  stomach. 
"  We  too  must  sing  a  song  !  "  he  said  to  his  wife. 

"  Oh,  you  fool,  the  others  sing,  for  they  have  had  a 
good  dinner  and  have  drunk  well.  Why  should  we 
sing  ? " 

"  Well,  after  all,  I  was  a  guest  at  my  brother's  name- 
day,  and  I  am  ashamed  of  going  back  so  silently.  If  I 
sing  they  will  all  think,  anyhow,  that  I  have  been  served 
as  well." 

"  Sing  if  you  will !    I  shall  not !  " 

So  the  peasant  sang  and  sang,  and  he  heard  two  voices. 
So  he  stopped  and  asked  his  wife  :  "  Are  you  helping  me 
to  sing  with  a  thin  voice  ?  " 

"  What  are  you  thinking  of  ?  I  was  doing  nothing 
of  the  sort." 


SORROW  301 

"  What  was  it,  then  ?  " 

"  I  don't  know,"  said  the  wife.    "  Sing.    I  will  listen." 

So  he  went  on  singing  by  himself,  and  again  the  two 
voices  were  heard.  So  he  stayed  still,  and  said,  "  Sorrow, 
are  you  aiding  me  to  sing  ?  " 

And  Sorrow  answered  :    "  Yes,  I  am  aiding  you." 

"  Now,  Sorrow,  we  will  go  on  together." 

"  Yes,  I  will  ever  remain  with  you." 

So  the  peasant  went  home.  But  Sorrow  called  him 
into  the  inn. 

He  said  :    "  I  have  no  money." 

"  Never  mind,  Hodge  ;  what  do  you  want  money 
for  ?  "  Why,  you  still  have  half  of  a  fur  ;  what  is  the 
use  of  it  ?  It  will  soon  be  summer,  and  you  will  be  no 
longer  requiring  it.  We  will  go  into  the  inn  and  drink 
it  up." 

So  the  peasant  and  Sorrow  went  into  the  inn,  and 
they  drank  up  the  half-fur.  Next  day  Sorrow  groaned 
and  said  he  had  a  headache,  a  fearful  headache,  owing 
to  last  night's  treat.  And  he  enticed  the  peasant  once 
more  to  bib  wine. 

"  But  I  have  no  money  !  " 

"  There  is  no  need  of  money.  Take  your  sleigh  and 
your  carriage  ;  that  will  be  sufficient  for  us  !  " 

It  was  not  any  good.     The  peasant  could  not  escape 

[Sorrow.     So  he  took  his  sleigh  and  his  carriage,  drove 

| them  to  the  inn,  and  drank  them  with  Sorrow.    And  in 

the  morning  Sorrow  groaned  yet  further,  and  reduced 

the  master  to  further  drinking ;   and  the  peasant  drank 

away  his  ploughshare  and  his  plough. 

One  month  had  gone  by,  and  he  had  drunk  all  his 
property  away,  pledged  his  izba1  to  a  neighbour,  and 
spent  all  the  money  in  the  inn.  Then  Sorrow  came  to 
him  once  more.  "  Let  us  go  to  the  inn  !  " 

"  No,  Sorrow,  I  have  no  more." 

1  Hut.      ' 


302  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


'  Why,  your  wife  has  two  sarafans,  one  will  be  suffi- 
cient for  her." 

So  the  peasant  took  the  sarafan,  drank  it  up  ;  and 
he  thought :  "  Now  I  have  not  anything  left,  neither 
house,  nor  clothes,  nor  anything  else  for  myself  or  my 
wife  !  " 

Next  morning  Sorrow  woke  up  and  saw  that  there 
was  nothing  more  he  could  take.  So  he  said :  "  Master, 
what  is  your  wish  ?  Go  to  your  neighbour  and  borrow 
a  pair  of  oxen  and  a  carriage." 

So  the  peasant  went  to  his  neighbour  and  said,  "  Can 
you  lend  me  a  car  and  a  pair  of  oxen  for  a  short  time 
and  I  will  do  a  week's  work  for  them  ?  " 

"  What  do  you  want  with  them  ?  " 

"  To  fetch  wood  out  of  the  forest." 

"  Well,  then,  take  them,  but  don't  overload  them." 

"  Oh,  of  course  not,  uncle  !  " 

So  the  peasant  took  the  oxen,  went  with  Sorrow  into 
the  carriage,  and  drove  into  the  field. 

"  Do  you  know  the  big  stone  in  this  field  ?  "  Sorrow 
asked. 

"  Oh,  yes !  " 

"  Well,  then,  drive  up  to  it." 

So  they  arrived  at  the  stone  and  dismounted.  Sorrow 
bade  the  peasant  lift  up  the  stone,  and  he  aided  him  in 
the  work.  Under  the  stone  there  was  a  hollow  filled  with 
gold. 

"  Now,  what  do  you  see  ?  "  said  Sorrow.  "  Load  it 
all  up  quickly  on  to  the  coach." 

So  the  peasant  set  to  work  sharply,  loaded  all  the  gold 
up,  to  the  very  last  ducats.  And  when  he  noticed  there 
was  not  anything  left,  he  said,  "  Sorrow,  is  there  no  more 
gold  there  ?  " 

"  I  don't  see  any." 

"  Down  there  in  the  corner  I  see  something  glitt 
ing." 


SORROW  303 

"  No  ;   I  cannot  see  anything." 

"  Get  down  into  the  pit,  and  you  will  see  it." 

So  Sorrow  went  into  the  pit,  and  as  soon  as  he  was  in 
the  peasant  cast  the  stone  in.  "  Things  will  now  go 
better,"  said  the  peasant,  "  for  if  I  were  to  take  you 
back  with  me,  Sorrow,  you  would  drink  up  all  of  this 
money  !  " 

So  the  peasant  went  home,  and  he  poured  out  the 
gold  in  the  cellar.  He  took  the  oxen  back  to  his  neigh- 
bour, and  he  began  to  set  up  house  again,  bought  a 
wood,  built  a  big  house,  and  became  twice  as  rich 
is  his  brother.  Soon  he  rode  to  the  town,  in  order 
Co  invite  his  brother  and  his  sister-in-law  to  his  own 
lame-day. 

"  Whatever  do  you  mean  ?  "  said  the  rich  brother, 
*  why,  you  have  nothing  to  eat,  and  you  are  giving 
festivals  !  " 

'  I  had  nothing  to  eat  before,  but  I  am  now  as  well 
iff  as  you  are." 

"  All  right ;    I  will  come." 

So  next  day  the  rich  man,  with  his  wife,  went  to  the 
aame-day ;  and  they  saw  that  the  poor  starveling  had 

big  new  house,  much  finer  than  many  merchants' 
louses.  And  the  peasant  gave  them  a  rich  dinner,  with 
ill  kinds  of  meat  and  drink. 

So  the  rich  man  asked  his  brother :  "  Tell  me,  how 
did  you  become  so  rich  ?  " 

Then  the  peasant  told  him  the  bare  truth — how 
Sorrow  had  followed  on  his  heels  and  how  he  and  his 
Borrow  had  gone  into  the  inn,  and  he  had  drunk  away 
.11  his  goods  and  chattels  to  the  last  shred,  until  he  had 
>nly  his  soul  left  in  his  body ;  and  then  how  Sorrow 
lad  showed  him  the  treasure-trove  in  the  field,  and  he 
lad  thus  freed  himself  from  the  thraldom  of  Sorrow. 

And  the  rich  man  became  envious  and  thought : 
:  I  will  go  into  the  field  and  will  lift  the  stone  up. 


304  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Sorrow  will  rend  my  brother's  body  asunder,  so  that 
cannot  then  brag  of  his  riches  in  front  of  me." 

So  he  left  his  wife  behind  and  drove  into  the  field,  to 
the  big  stone.  He  whirled  it  off  to  the  side  and  bowed 
down  to  see  what  was  under  the  stone.  And  he  had 
hardly  bowed  down,  when  Sorrow  sprang  up  and  sat 
on  his  shoulders. 

"  O  !  "  Sorrow  cried.    "  You  wanted  to  leave  me  he 
under  the  earth.    Now  I  shall  never  depart  from  you.' 

"  Listen,  Sorrow :    I  was  not  the  person  who  lockt 
you  up  here  !  " 

"  Who  was  it,  then,  if  it  was  not  you  ?  " 

"  My  brother.    I  came  in  order  to  set  you  free." 

"  No,  you  are  lying  and  deceiving  me  again, 
time  it  shall  not  come  off." 

So    Sorrow    sat    fast    on    the    wretched    merchant' 
shoulders.    He  brought  Sorrow  with  him  home,  and 
household  went  from  bad  to  worse.    Sorrow  began  earl 
in  the  morning  enticing  the  merchant  into  the  beer- 
house day  after  day,   and  much  property  was  drunk 
away. 

"  This  life  is  absolutely  unbearable  !  "  thought  the ; 
merchant.  "  I  have  done  Sorrow  too  good  a  service. 
I  must  now  set  myself  free  from  him.  How  shall  I  ?  " 
So  he  thought  and  he  thought  it  out.  He  went  into  his 
courtyard,  cut  two  oak  wedges,  took  a  new  wheel,  and 
knocked  one  wedge  from  one  end  into  the  axle.  He  went 
up  to  Sorrow.  "  Now,  Sorrow,  must  you  lie  about  like 
that  ?  " 

"  What  should  I  be  doing  ?    What  else  is  there  to  do  ? " 

"  Come  into  the  courtyard ;  let  us  play  hide-and- 
seek." 

This  suited  Sorrow  down  to  the  ground,  and  at  first 
the  merchant  hid  and  Sorrow  found  him  at  once. 

Then  Sorrow  had  to  hide.    "  You  will  not  find  me 
easily :    I  can  hide  myself  in  any  crack," 


SORROW 


305 


"  What  !  "  said  the  merchant.  "  Why,  you  could 
never  get  into  this  wheel,  much  less  into  a  crack  !  " 

"  What  !  I  could  not  get  into  the  wheel  ?  Just  look 
how  I  manage  to  hide  myself  in  it  !  " 

So  Sorrow  crept  into  the  wheel,  and  the  merchant 
took  the  other  oak  wedge  and  drove  it  into  the  hub  from 
the  other  side,  and  threw  the  wheel,  with  Sorrow  inside, 
into  the  river.  Sorrow  was  drowned,  and  the  merchant 
lived  as  before. 


IVASHKO   AND   THE   WISE   WOMAN 


ONCE  there  lived  an  old  man  and  an  old  dame,  and  the 
only  had  one  little  son,  and  you  can't  imagine  how  the 
loved  him. 

One  day  Ivashechko  asked  his  mother  and  father, 
"  Please  may  I  go  and  catch  fish  ?  " 

"  What  nonsense  !  you're  much  too  little  yet :  you 
might  get  drowned,  and  that  would  be  a  fine  story." 

"  Oh,  no,  I  won't  get  drowned.  I'll  go  and  catch  you 
a  fish :  let  me  go  !  rt 

So  grandfather  gave  him  a  little  white  shirt  to  wear, 
with  a  big  red  sash,  and  off  he  went.  Soon  he  was  sitting 
in  a  boat  and  singing : 

Little  boat,  little  boat,  sail  far  away, 
O'er  the  blue  water  away  and  away. 

The  little  skiff  sailed  far  and  far  away  and  Ivashechko 
started  fishing.  Soon,  how  long  I  don't  know,  up  came 
the  mother  to  the  shore  and  said : 

Ivashechko,  Ivashechko,  my  little  son, 
Up  to  the  shore  let  your  little  boat  run  : 
Here  is  some  drink  and  here  is  a  bun  ! 

And  Ivashechko  said : 

Little  boat,  little  boat,  sail  to  the  shore  : 
My  mother's  calling  me. 

The  little  skiff  sailed  up  to  the  shore  ;  the  woman  tool 
the  fish  and  fed  her  little  boy,  changed  his  shirt  and  sas 

306 


IVASHKO  AND  THE  WISE  WOMAN      307 

and  sent  him  out  again  to  catch  fish.    And  there  he  sat 
on  the  boat  and  sang : 

Little  boat,  little  boat,  sail  far  away, 
O'er  the  blue  water  away  and  away. 

The  little  boat  sailed  out  so  far  away,  and  Ivashechko 
started  fishing.  Soon  the  grandfather  came  to  the  shore 
and  called  his  son  : 

Ivashechko,  Ivashechko,  my  little  son, 
Up  to  the  shore  let  your  little  boat  run  : 
Here  is  some  drink  and  here  is  a  bun  ! 

And  Ivashechko  said : 

Little  boat,  little  boat,  sail  to  the  shore  : 
For  father's  calling  me  ! 

The  little  skiff  sailed  up  to  the  shore  ;  the  grandfather 
took  the  fish  and  fed  his  little  boy,  changed  his  shirt  and 
sash  and  sent  him  out  again  to  catch  fish.  And  there  he 
sat  on  the  boat  and  sang : 

Little  boat,  little  boat,  sail  far  away, 
O'er  the  blue  water  away  and  away. 

Now  the  wise  woman  saw  how  his  grandparents  calle  i 
Ivashechko,  and  wanted  to  get  hold  of  the  boy.  So  she 
came  to  the  shore  and  called  out : 

Ivashechko,  Ivashechko,  my  little  son, 
Up  to  the  shore  let  your  little  boat  run  : 
Here  is  some  drink  and  here  is  a  bun ! 

But  Ivashechko  knew  the  voice,  and  whose  voice  it  was. 
So  he  sang : 

Little  boat,  little  boat,  sail  far  away, 

O'er  the  blue  water  away  and  away. 

The  Evil  Woman's  calling  me 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


So  the  wise  woman  saw  she  must  act  the  mother's 
voice,  so  she  ran  to  the  smith  and  asked  him,  "  Smitl 
just  forge  me  a  thin  little  voice  like  the  one  Ivashechko's 
mother  has,  or  I'll  eat  you  up  !  "  So  the  smith  forgec 
the  voice  just  like  the  mother's.  So  up  she  went  to  tl 
shore  and  sang : 

Ivashechko,  Ivashechko,  my  little  son, 
Up  to  the  shore  let  your  little  boat  run  : 
Here  is  some  drink  and  here  is  a  bun  ! 

Ivashechko  sailed  up  ;  she  took  the  fish  and  seized  anc 
took  Ivashechko  himself  away.    When  she  reached  home, 
she  told  her  daughter  Alyonka  :    "  Just  make  my  stove 
nice  and  hot  and  cook  Ivashechko  all  through.     I'll  go 
assemble  my  guests." 

And   Alyonka   heated   the   stove   very  hot   and   told 
Ivashechko :   "  Come  and  sit  on  the  shovel."1 

"  I'm  too  young  and  stupid,"  Ivashechko  answered 
"  show  me  how  to  sit  on  the  shovel." 

"  Oh,  that's  easy  enough !  "  said  Alyonka  ;    and  as 
soon  as  she  was  on  Ivashechko  shoved  her  into  the  stovt 
slammed  the  door  to  and  went  out  of  the  hut,  anc 
climbed  a  great  big  tall  oak  tree. 

The  wise  woman  came  with  her  guests  and  knocked 
the  hut ;  there  was  no  reply,  no  one  to  open  the  dooi 
"  Oh,  confound  Alyonka  ;  she  must  have  gone  out  tc 
play."  The  wise  woman  climbed  up  into  the  window 
opened  the  door  and  admitted  her  guests,  opened  tl 
oven  door,  took  out  Alyonka,  who  was  well  cooked, 
they  all  sat  down  to  table  and  ate  and  ate  and  drank,  anc 
at  last  went  out  to  take  a  turn  on  the  grass : 

"  I  am  dancing,  I  am  prancing,  I  have  eaten  Ivas 
hechko's  flesh." 

Then   Ivashechko  interrupted  from  the  top  of  the 

1  Shovels  are  used  to  insert  loaves  and  pots  deep  into  the  oven. 


IVASHKO  AND  THE  WISE  WOMAN      309 

tree :  "  Dance  and  prance  !  you  have  eaten  Alyonka's 
flesh." 

"  Did  I  hear  anything  ?  "  said  the  wise  woman  ;  "  it 
must  have  been  the  leaves  rustling."  Again  the  wise 
woman  said,  "  I  am  dancing,  I  am  prancing,  I  have  eaten 
Ivashechko's  flesh  !  " 

Ivashechko  repeated  :  "  Dance  and  prance  !  you  have 
eaten  Alyonka's  flesh  !  " 

So  at  last  she  looked  up  and  saw  Ivashechko,  and  began 
to  gnaw  at  the  oak-tree  on  which  he  was  sitting,  and 
gnawed  and  gnawed,  broke  two  of  her  front  teeth,  and 
went  to  the  smithy.  She  called  the  smith.  "  Smith, 
smith,  make  me  some  iron  teeth,  or  I'll  eat  you  up." 

The  smith  made  her  two  iron  teeth. 

So  back  she  went  and  gnawed  away  at  the  tree,  and  as 
soon  as  she  had  gnawed  it  through  Ivashechko  just 
jumped  on  to  the  next  oak-tree,  whilst  the  one  the  witch 
had  gnawed  through  fell  down. 

Then  the  wise  woman  gnawed  and  gnawed  at  this 
tree,  and  gnawed  and  gnawed,  broke  the  two  front  teeth, 
and  went  to  the  smithy.  She  called  the  smith  :  "  Smith, 
smith,  make  me  two  more  iron  teeth,  or  I'll  eat  you  up." 

The  smith  made  her  two  more  iron  teeth. 

So  she  went  back  and  gnawed  away  at  the  tree. 

So  Ivashechko  did  not  know  what  to  do.  He  looked 
up  and  saw  geese  and  swans  flying  ;  he  asked  them  : 

Geese  and  swans,  geese  and  swans, 
Waft  me  away  on  your  pinions  : 
Take  me  home  to  my  mother  and  father ; 
With  my  mother  and  my  father 
There  is  plenty  to  eat 
And  life  is  sweet ! 

, 

'  The  next  covey  may  take  you,"  said  the  birds. 

So  he  waited.  And  another  flock  came,  and  he  re- 
peated : 


3io  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

Geese  and  swans,  geese  and  swans, 
Waft  me  away  on  your  pinions  : 
Take  me  home  to  my  mother  and  father ; 
With  my  mother  and  my  father 
There  is  plenty  to  eat 
And  life  is  sweet ! 

"  Perhaps  the  last  may  take  you." 
So  he  waited  on,  and  as  the  third  flock  appeared 
said  : 

Geese  and  swans,  geese  and  swans, 

Waft  me  away  on  your  pinions  : 

Take  me  home  to  my  mother  and  father ; 

With  my  mother  and  my  father 

There  is  plenty  to  eat 

And  life  is  sweet ! 

They  took  him  home  on  their  wings  up  to  the  hut  and 
placed  Ivashechko  in  the  loft. 

Early  next  day  the  woman  cooked  a  pancake  on  the 
stove,  and  whilst  cooking  it  thought  of  her  poor  little 
boy  Ivan,  and  said :  "  Where  is  my  Ivashechko  ?  I 
dreamed  of  him  last  night  !  " 

And  gaffer  said :  "  I  dreamed  last  night  the  geese  and 
swans  were  wafting  our  little  Ivan  home." 

She  had  finished  the  pancake  by  now,  and  said : 
"  Now,  gaffer,  we'll  share  it,  this  bit  for  you,  this  bit 
for  me  !  " 

"  And  none  for  me  !  "  Ivashechko  chimed  in. 

"  This  is  for  you,  and  this  is  for  me  !  " 

"  And  none  for  me  !  " 

"  What's  that  noise,  gaffer  ?  "  the  woman  asked. 

The  grandfather  clattered  up  into  the  loft  and  foun 
Ivashechko.     They  were  overjoyed,  asked  him  all  about 
everything,  and  lived  a  jolly  life. 


, 


NEVER-WASH 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  a  soldier  who  had  served 
through  three  campaigns,  but  had  never  earned  as 
much  as  an  addled  egg,  and  was  then  put  on  the  retired 
list.  Then,  as  he  went  on  the  road  marching  on  and  on, 
he  became  tired  and  sat  down  by  a  lake.  And,  as  he 
rested,  he  began  thinking  things  out :  "  Where  shall  I 
now  betake  myself,  and  how  shall  I  feed  myself,  and 
how  the  devil  shall  I  enter  into  any  service  ?  " 

As  soon  as  he  had  spoken  these  words  a  little  devil 
rose  up  at  once  in  front  of  him  and  said,  "  Hail,  soldier, 
what  do  you  wish  ?  Did  you  just  now  not  say  that  you 
wished  to  become  one  of  our  servants  ?  Why,  soldier, 
come  up  and  be  hired :  we  will  pay  you  well." 

"  What  is  the  work  ?  " 

"  Oh,  the  work  is  easy  enough :  for  fifteen  years  you 
must  not  shave,  you  must  not  have  your  hair  cut,  you 
must  not  blow  your  nose,  and  you  must  not  change  your 
garb.  If  you  serve  this  service,  then  we  will  go  to  the 
king,  who  has  three  daughters.  Two  of  them  are  mine, 
but  the  third  shall  be  yours." 

"  Very  well,"  said  the  soldier,  "  I  will  undertake  the 
contract ;  but  I  require  in  return  to  get  anything  my 
soul  hankers  after." 

"  It  shall  be  so ;  be  at  peace  ;  we  shall  not  be  in 
default." 

"  Well,  let  it  befall  at  once.  Carry  me  at  once 
into  the  capital  and  give  me  a  pile  of  money ;  you 
know  yourself  how  little  of  these  goods  a  soldier  ever 
gets." ' 

3" 


312  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


So  the  little  devil  dashed  into  the  lake,  got  out  a  pile 
of  gold,  and  instantaneously  carried  the  soldier  into  the 
great  city,  and  all  at  once  he  was  there  ! 

"  What  a  fool  I  have  been  ! "  said  the  soldier :  "  I 
have  not  done  any  service,  no  work,  and  I  now  have 
the  money  !  "  So  he  took  a  room,  never  cut  his  hair, 
never  shaved,  never  wiped  his  nose,  never  changed  his 
garb,  and  he  lived  on  and  grew  wealthy,  so  wealthy  he 
did  not  know  what  to  do  with  his  money.  What  was 
he  to  do  with  his  silver  and  gold  ?  "  Oh,  very  well,  I 
will  start  helping  the  poor :  possibly  they  may  pray 
for  my  soul."  So  the  soldier  began  distributing  alms 
to  the  needy,  to  the  right  and  to  the  left,  and  he  still 
had  money  over,  however  much  he  gave  away !  His 
fame  spread  over  the  whole  kingdom,  came  to  the  ears 
of  all. 

So  the  soldier  lived  for  fourteen  years,  and  on  the 
fifteenth  year  the  Tsar's  exchequer  gave  out.  So  he 
summoned  the  soldier.  So  the  soldier  came  to  him  un- 
washed, unshaved,  uncombed,  with  his  nose  unwiped 
and  his  dress  unchanged. 

"  Health,  your  Majesty  !  " 

"  Listen,  soldier.  You,  they  say,  are  good  to  all  folks : 
will  you  lend  me  some  money  ?  I  have  not  enough  to 
pay  my  troops.  If  you  will  I  will  make  you  a  general  at 
once." 

"  No,  your  Majesty,  I  do  not  wish  to  be  a  general ; 
but  if  you  will  do  me  a  favour,  give  me  one  of  your 
daughters  as  my  wife,  and  you  shall  have  as  much  mom 
as  you  wish  for  the  Treasury." 

So  the  king  began  to  think :    he  was  very  fond  of 
daughters,  but  still  he  could  not  do  anything  whatsoevt 
without  money.     "  Well,"  he  said,  "  I  agree.     Have 
portrait  taken  of  yourself  ;  I  will  show  it  to  my  daughtei 
and  ask  which  of  them  will  take  you." 

So   the   soldier  returned,   had   the   portrait   paintec 


NEVER- WASH  313 

which  was  feature  for  feature,  unshaved,  unwashed, 
uncombed,  his  nose  unwiped,  and  in  his  old  garb,  and 
sent  it  to  the  Tsar. 

Now,  the  Tsar  had  three  daughters,  and  the  father 
summoned  them  and  showed  them  the  soldier's  portrait. 
He  said  to  the  eldest,  "  Will  you  go  and  marry  him  ? 
He  will  redeem  me  from  very  great  embarrassment." 

The  Tsarevna  saw  what  a  monstrous  animal  had  been 
painted,  with  tangled  hair,  uncut  nails  and  unwiped 
nose.  "  I  certainly  won't  !  "  she  said,  "  I  would  sooner 
go  to  the  Devil."  And  from  somewhere  or  other  the 
Devil  appeared,  stood  behind  her  with  pen  and  paper, 
heard  what  she  said,  and  entered  her  soul  on  his  register. 

Then  the  father  asked  the  next  daughter,  "  Will  you 
go  and  marry  the  soldier  ?  " 

"  What  !  I  would  rather  remain  a  maiden  ;  I  would 
rather  tie  myself  up  with  the  Devil  than  go  with  him." 
So  the  Devil  went  and  inscribed  her  soul  as  well. 

Then  the  father  asked  his  youngest  daughter,  and  she 
answered,  "  Evidently  this  must  be  my  lot :  I  will  go 
and  marry  him  and  see  what  God  shall  give." 

Then  the  Tsar  was  very  blithe  at  this,  and  he  went  and 
told  the  soldier  to  make  ready  for  the  betrothal,  and  he 
sent  him  twelve  carts  to  carry  the  money  away. 

Then  the  soldier  made  use  of  his  devil :  "  There  are 
twelve  carts ;  pile  them  all  high  at  once  with  gold." 
So  the  devil  ran  into  the  lake  and  the  unholy  ones  set  to 
work.  Some  of  them  brought  up  one  sack,  some  two, 
and  they  soon  filled  the  carts  and  sent  them  to  the  Tsar, 
into  his  palace. 

Then  the  Tsar  looked,  and  now  summoned  the  soldier 
to  him  every  day,  sat  with  him  at  one  table,  and  ate 
and  drank  with  him.  When  they  got  ready  for  the 
marriage  the  term  of  fifteen  years  was  over.  So  he 
called  the  little  devil  and  said,  "  Now  my  service  is  over  : 
turn  me  into  a  youth." 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


So  the  devil  cut  him  up  into  little  bits,  threw  them 
into  a  cauldron,  and  began  to  brew  him — brewed  him, 
washed  him  and  collected  all  his  bones,  one  by  one,  in 
the  proper  way,  every  bone  with  every  bone,  every  joint 
with  every  joint,  every  nerve  with  every  nerve :  then 
he  sprinkled  them  with  the  water  of  life,  and  the  soldier 
arose,  such  a  fine  young  man  as  no  tale  can  tell  and 
pen  can  write.  He  then  married  the  youngest  Tsarevn* 
and  they  began  to  live  a  merry  life  of  good. 

I  was  at  the  wedding :    I  drank  mead  and  beer.    The 
also  had  wine,  and  I  drank  it  to  the  very  dregs. 


But  the  little  devil  ran  back  into  the  lake,  for 
elder  hauled  him  over  the  coals  to  answer  for  what 
he  had  done  with  the  soldier.  "  He  has  served  out  his 
period  faithfully  and  honourably :  he  has  never  once 
shaved  himself,  nor  cut  his  hair,  nor  wiped  his  nose,  nor 
changed  his  clothes." 

Then  the  elder  was  very  angry.  He  said,  "  In  fifteen 
years  you  were  not  able  to  corrupt  the  soldier  !  Was 
all  the  money  given  in  vain  ?  What  sort  of  a  devil  will 
you  be  after  this  ?  "  And  he  had  him  thrown  into  the 
burning  pitch. 

"  Oh  no,  please,  grandfather,"  said  the  grandson,  "  I 
have  lost  the  soldier's  soul,  but  I  have  gained  two  others." 

"  What  ?  " 

"  Look  :  the  soldier  thought  of  marrying  a  Tsarevna 
the  two  elder  daughters  both  declined  and  said  the 
would  rather  marry  a  devil  than  the  soldier.  So  thei 
they  are,  and  they  belong  to  us." 

So  the  grandfather-devil  approved  what  the  grandsoi 
imp  had  done,  and  set  him  free.  "  Yes,"  he  said,  "  yc 
know  your  business  very  well  indeed." 


CHRIST  AND  THE  GEESE 

ONE  day  St.  Peter  and  Christ  were  out  walking  together. 
St.  Peter  was  deep  in  thought  and  suddenly  said :  "  How 
fine  it  must  be  to  be  God  !  If  for  half  a  day  I  might  be 
God,  then  let  me  be  Peter  all  the  rest  of  my  days !  " 

The  Lord  smiled.  "  Your  will  shall  be  granted.  Be 
God  until  nightfall." 

They  were  approaching  a  village,  and  saw  a  peasant 
girl  driving  a  flock  of  geese.  She  drove  them  to  the 
meadow,  left  them  there,  and  hurried  back  home. 

"  Are  you  going  to  leave  the  geese  by  themselves  ?  " 
St.  Peter  asked. 

"  Well,  what  ? — guard  them  to-day  !    It's  a  feast-day." 

"  But  who  will  look  after  the  geese  ?  " 

"  God  Almighty,  maybe,"  she  said,  and  ran  away. 

"  Peter,  you  have  heard  her,"  said  the  Saviour.  "  I 
should  have  been  delighted  to  go  with  you  to  the  village 
feast,  but  then  the  geese  might  come  to  some  harm. 
You  are  God  until  nightfall,  and  must  stay  and  watch 
them." 

Poor  Peter  !  He  was  angry  ;  but  had  to  stay  and 
guard  the  geese.  He  never  again  wished  to  be  God. 


315 


CHRIST  AND  FOLK-SONGS 

ONE  day  Christ  and  St.  Peter  were  walking  about  t] 
earth  and  came  to  a  village.  In  one  house  folks  were 
singing  so  finely  that  Christ  stayed  to  listen,  whilst 
St.  Peter  went  on.  He  turned  back  and  found  Christ 
still  at  His  post.  St.  Peter  went  on  again,  and  looked 
back :  Christ  was  still  listening.  St.  Peter  went  on  again 
and  then  glanced  back  a  third  time — and  Christ  was  still 
listening.  Then  he  went  back  and  heard  a  splendid  folk- 
song in  the  house,  stayed  a  while,  and  went  on  to  another 
house  where  there  also  was  singing.  There  St.  Peter 
stayed,  but  Christ  passed  on.  St.  Peter  hurried  up  and 
looked  astounded. 

"  What's  the  matter  ?  "  asked  Christ. 

"  I  could  not  make  out  why  you  stopped  to  listen  t( 
folk-songs  and  passed  by  the  house  where  hymns  wei 
being  sung." 

"  Oh,  my  dear  son,"  said  Christ,  "  there  was  a  good 
scent  there  in  the  one  house  where  folk-songs  were  being 
sung  ;  but  there  was  no  reverence  about  the  house  where 
they  were  chanting  hymns." 


316 


THE   DEVIL    IN   THE   DOUGH-PAN 

ONCE  a  woman  was  kneading  bread,  but  had  forgotten 
to  say  the  blessing.  So  the  demon,  Potanka,1  ran  up 
and  sat  down  in  it.  Then  she  recollected  she  had 
kneaded  the  dough  without  saying  the  blessing,  went 
up  to  it  and  crossed  herself ;  and  Potanka  wanted  to 
escape,  but  could  not  anyhow,  because  of  the  blessing. 
So  she  put  the  leavened  dough  through  a  strainer  and 
threw  it  out  into  the  street,  with  Potanka  inside.  The 
pigs  turned  him  over  and  over,  and  he  could  not  escape 
for  three  whole  days.  At  last  he  tore  his  way  out  through 
a  crack  in  the  dough  and  scampered  off  without  looking 
behind  him. 

He  ran  up  to  his  comrades,  who  asked  him :  "  Where 
have  you  been,  Potanka  ?  " 

"  May  that  woman  be  accursed  !  "  he  said. 

"  Who  ?  " 

"  The  one  who  was  kneading  her  dough  and  had  made 
it  without  saying  the  proper  blessing  ;  so  I  ran  up  and 
squatted  in  it.  Then  she  laid  hold  of  me  and  crossed 
herself,  and  after  three  livelong  days  I  got  out,  the  pigs 
poking  me  about  and  I  unable  to  escape  !  Never  again 
will  I  get  into  a  woman's  dough." 

1  "  »  "  and  "  k  "  to  be  sounded  distinct  as  in  pin-case. 


3*7 


THE  SUN,  THE  MOON,  AND  CROW  CROWSO] 

ONCE  upon  a  time  there  was  an  old  man  and  an  ol 
woman  who  had  three  daughters.  The  old  man  wei 
into  the  loft  for  some  groats,  and  took  them  home,  but 
there  was  a  hole  in  the  sack,  and  the  groats  were  running 
and  running  out  of  the  sack. 

The  old  man  went  home,  and  the  old  woman  asked, 
"  Where  are  the  groats  ?  "  But  all  the  groats  had 
dripped  out. 

So  the  old  man  went  to  collect  them,  and  said,  "  If 
only  the  Sun  would  warm  the  grain,  and  the  moon  show 
its  light  on  it,  and  Crow  Crowson  help  me  to  get  the 
groats,  I  would  give  my  eldest  daughter  to  the  little 
Sun,  and  my  middle  daughter  to  the  Moon,  and  my 
youngest  to  Crow  Crowson."  So  the  old  man  set  to 
collecting  the  grain,  and  the  Sun  warmed  it,  and  the 
Moon  shone  on  it,  and  Voron  Voronovich  helped  to 
collect  the  grain. 

The  old  man  came  back  home  and  said  to  the  eldest 
daughter :  "  You  must  dress  nicely  and  go  out  on  the 
steps."  So  she  dressed  and  went  out  on  the  steps.  And 
the  Sun  laid  hold  of  her.  And  he  commanded  the 
next  daughter  in  the  same  way  to  dress  herself  finel 
and  to  stand  on  the  steps.  So  she  dressed  herself  uj 
and  went  out,  and  the  Moon  seized  and  took  away  tl 
second  daughter.  And  he  said  to  the  third  daughtei 
"  Dress  yourself  prettily  and  stand  on  the  steps." 
she  dressed  herself  prettily  and  stood  on  the  steps,  ai 
Crow  Crowson  seized  her  and  carried  her  away. 

Then  the  old  man  said,  "  I  think  I  might  go  and  visi 

318 


SUN,  MOON,  AND  CROW  CROWSON     319 

my  sons-in-law."  So  he  went  to  the  Sun,  and  at  last  he 
arrived  there. 

The  Sun  asked  him,  "  With  what  shall  I  regale  you  ?  " 

"  Oh,  I  don't  wish  for  anything  !  " 

So  the  Sun  bade  his  wife  make  a  custard  ready.  So 
the  daughter  prepared  the  custard  ;  the  Sun  sat  down 
in  the  middle  of  the  floor,  and  his  wife  put  the  pan  on 
him  and  the  custard  was  soon  cooked.  So  they  gave 
the  old  father  refreshment. 

Then  the  old  father  went  back  home  and  bade  his 
wife  make  him  a  custard  ;  and  he  sat  down  on  the  floor 
and  commanded  her  to  put  the  pan  with  the  custard 
on  to  him. 

"  What  are  you  talking  about  ?  Bake  it  on  you  !  " 
said  the  old  wife. 

"  Go  on  !  "  he  replied.  "  Put  it  there  ;  it  will  be 
baked  !  " 

So  she  put  the  pan  on  him,  and  the  custard  stood 
there  for  ages  and  was  not  ever  cooked,  only  turned 
sour.  It  was  no  good.  So  in  the  end  the  wife  put  the 
pan  into  the  stove,  and  this  time  the  custard  was  baked 
and  the  old  man  got  something  to  eat. 

Next  day  the  old  man  went  to  stay  as  a  guest  with  his 
second  son-in-law,  the  Moon,  and  he  arrived. 

And  the  Moon  said,  "  With  what  shall  I  regale 
you  ?  " 

"  I  do  not  wish  for  anything,"  said  the  old  man. 

So  the  Moon  got  the  bath  heated  ready  for  him. 

The  old  man  said,  "  Won't  it  be  very  dark  in  the 
bath  ?  " 

"  No,"  said  the  Moon  to  him,  "  quite  light ;  only 
step  in." 

So  the  old  man  went  into  the  bath,  and  the  Moon 
twisted  his  little  finger  into  a  chink,  and  it  was  quite 
light  in  the  bathroom.  So  the  old  man  steamed  himself 
thoroughly,  went  back  home  and  told  his  wife  to  heat 


320  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


the  bath  at  night.     So  the  old  woman  heated  it,  and  he 
sent  her  there  to  steam  herself. 

"  But,"  she  said,  "  it  will  be  much  too  dark  to  stea 
myself  !  " 

"  Go  along  !   it  will  be  light  enough." 

So  the  old  woman  went.  And  the  old  man  saw  how 
the  Moon  had  lit  the  place  up  for  him,  and  he  went 
and  bored  a  tiny  hole  in  the  bathroom  and  thrust  his 
finger  through  it. 

But  there  was  still  no  light  in  the  bath,  and  the  old 
woman  shrieked  out  to  him,  "  Dark  !  much  too  dark  !  " 
It  was  not  any  good.  So  she  went  out,  brought  a  lamp, 
and  enjoyed  her  steam  bath. 

On  the  third  day  the  old  man  went  to  Voron  Vorono- 
vich.  He  got  there. 

"  How  shall  I  regale  you  ?  "  asked  Voron  Voronovich. 

"  Oh,"  said  the  old  man,  "  I  don't  want  anything  !  " 

"  Well,  let  us  come  and  sleep  on  the  perch." 

So  the  Crow  put  a  ladder  up  and  climbed  up  there 
with  his  father-in-law.  Crow  Crowson  settled  himself 
comfortably  with  his  head  under  his  wing.  But  as  soon 
as  ever  the  old  man  dropped  off  to  sleep  both  of  them 
fell  down  and  were  killed. 


THE   LEGLESS    KNIGHT   AND   THE   BLIND 
KNIGHT 

IN  a  certain  kingdom  in  a  certain  land  a  Tsar  and  his 
Tsaritsa  lived.  They  had  a  son  called  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
and  the  son  had  an  attendant  who  was  called  Katoma 
Dyadka1  of  the  oaken  cap.j  When  the  Tsar  and  the 
Tsaritsa  had  reached  a  great  age  both  of  them  became 
ill,  and  they  felt  that  they  would  never  become  hale 
again.  So  they  called  Ivan  Tsarevich,  and  said  to  him : 
"  If  we  die,  always  follow  Katoma's  advice,  and  do  well 
by  him,  then  you  will  live  happily ;  but  if  you  do  not, 
you  will  falter  and  fail  like  a  fly." 

Next  day  the  Tsar  and  the  Tsaritsa  died.  Ivan 
Tsarevich  buried  his  parents,  heeded  their  advice,  and 
always  took  counsel  with  Katoma  before  undertaking 
any  enterprise. 

Very  soon,  maybe  a  long  time,  maybe  short,  he  grew 
up,  and  he  wanted  to  marry.  He  said  to  Katoma : 
"  Katoma,  Oaken-cap,  it  is  so  melancholy  living  by 
oneself  ;  I  want  to  marry." 

"  Tsarevich,"  Katoma  replied,  "  you  are  of  the  age 
at  which  you  ought  to  look  for  a  bride :  go  into  the 
great  hall,  where  you  will  see  pictures  of  all  the  Koro- 
levny2  and  Tsarevny  in  the  world.  Gaze  on  them  care- 
fully, and  select  for  yourself  a  bride,  one  who  pleases  you, 
and  you  shall  marry  her." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  went  into  the  great  hall,  looked  at  the 
pictures,  and  he  was  most  delighted  with  Anna  the  Fair. 

1  Uncle  :  term  of  affection.  a  Princesses. 

V  321 


322  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

She  was  so  fair  that  she  was  fairer  than  any  princess  in 
the  world.  But  under  her  portrait  there  was  a  legend : 
"  He  who  can  set  her  a  riddle  she  cannot  solve  is  to  marry 
her.  Anyone  whose  riddle  she  solves  dies." 

Ivan  Tsarevich  read  the  legend,  and  was  very  sad. 
He  went  up  to  Katoma  and  said :  "  I  was  in  the  great 
hall,  and  I  selected  as  my  bride  Anna  the  Fair :  but  I 
do  not  know  whether  I  can  woo  her." 

"  Yes,  Tsarevich,  it  will  be  hard  for  you  ;  if  you  had 
to  go  there  by  yourself,  you  would  never  win  her.  Take 
me.  Do  what  I  say,  and  all  will  go  well." 

Then  Ivan  Tsarevich  begged  Katoma  Oaken-cap  to 
fare  there  with  him,  and  pledged  him  his  word  of  honour 
he  would  obey  him  in  joy  and  sorrow. 

So  they  set  out  on  the  way  to  seek  Anna  the  Fair 
Tsarevna.  They  journeyed  for  one  year,  the  second 
year,  and  the  third  year,  and  they  traversed  many  lands. 
Ivan  Tsarevich  said,  "  We  have  been  so  long  on  the 
journey  and  are  at  last  approaching  the  realms  of  Anna 
the  Fair,  and  still  we  have  not  thought  out  any  riddles 
for  her  !  " 

"  Time  enough  yet,"  Katoma  replied. 

So  they  rode  on,  and  Katoma  saw  a  purse  lying  on  the 
road  and  said :  "  Ivan  Tsarevich,  there  is  your  riddle 
for  the  Tsarevna  ;  give  her  this  riddle  to  solve  :  '  Good 
lies  on  the  road :  we  took  the  good  with  good,  and  set  it 
down  to  our  good.'  That  she  will  never  solve  all  her  life 
long,  for  every  riddle  she  has  solved  at  once,  for  she  had 
only  to  look  in  her  magical  book ;  and  she  would  then 
have  your  head  cut  off." 

At  last  the  Tsarevich  and  Katoma  came  to  a  lofty 
castle,  where  the  fair  Tsarevna  lived.  She  was  just 
standing  at  her  balcony,  and  sent  her  messengers  to  meet 
them,  to  know  whence  they  came  and  what  was  their  will. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  answered :  "  I  have  come  from  my 
distant  realm  in  order  to  woo  Anna  Tsarevna  the  Fair." 


LEGLESS  KNIGHT  AND  BLIND  KNIGHT     323 

This  she  was  told,  and  she  bade  the  Tsarevich  be 
introduced  into  her  castle :  he  was  to  set  her  a  riddle 
in  front  of  all  her  councillors  and  her  princes  and  boydrs.1 
"  For  I  have  sworn,"  she  said,  "  to  marry  him  who  sets 
me  a  riddle  I  cannot  solve :  but  if  I  guess  it,  then  he 
must  die."  The  fair  Tsarevna  listened  to  the  riddle : 
"  Good  lies  on  the  road ;  we  took  the  good  with  good, 
and  set  it  down  to  our  good." 

Anna  the  Fair  took  her  conjuring  book  and  searched 
it  through  for  the  riddle — looked  the  whole  book  through 
in  vain.  So  the  princes  and  boydrs  decided  that  she 
must  marry  the  Tsarevich.  But  she  was  very  gloomy 
over  it,  yet  still  had  to  make  ready.  But  in  her  heart  of 
hearts  she  kept  thinking :  "  How  could  I  postpone  the 
date  and  get  rid  of  my  bridegroom  ?  "  So  she  decided 
to  tire  him  out  through  severe  tasks.  One  day  she  called 
Ivan  Tsarevich  to  her  and  said :  "  Dear  Ivan  Tsarevich, 
my  chosen  mate,  we  must  get  ready  for  the  marriage. 
Do  me  a  small  service.  In  my  realm  there  stands  in  a 
certain  village  a  great  iron  column  :  bring  it  to  the  great 
kitchen  and  split  it  up  into  little  logs  as  firewood  for  the 
cook." 

"  What  do  you  want,  Tsarevna  ?  Have  I  come  to  cut 
down  fuel  for  you  ?  Is  that  my  duty  ?  Oh,  my  servant 
can  see  to  that  !  "  So  he  called  Katoma,  and  he  told  him 
to  bring  the  iron  column  into  the  kitchen  and  to  hew  it 
into  small  logs  as  fuel  for  the  cook. 

Katoma  at  once  went,  took  the  pillar  in  his  two  hands, 
brought  it  into  the  kitchen  and  split  it  up.  But  he  kept 
back  four  iron  shafts  and  put  them  into  his  pocket,  for 
he  thought :  "  Later  I  may  make  use  of  them  !  " 

Next  day  the  Tsarevna  said,  "  Dear  Tsarevich,  my 
chosen  husband,  to-morrow  we  shall  marry.  I  shall  go 
in  a  carriage  to  church,  and  you  will  have  a  fine  prancing 
steed  given  you.  You  must  get  him  ready  yourself." 

»  Earls. 


324  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

"  I  must  get  the  horse  ready  !  Oh,  my  servant  can 
do  that  !  " 

So  Ivan  Tsarevich  called  Katoma,  and  said :  "  Come 
into  the  stable  and  command  the  grooms  to  bring  the 
horse  out ;  ride  it,  and  to-morrow  I  will  go  to  church 
on  it." 

But  Katoma  could  see  the  guile  in  the  Tsarevna's 
heart,  and  instantly  went  into  the  stable  and  ordered 
them  to  bring  the  horse  out.  Twelve  grooms  opened 
the  twelve  locks,  undid  twelve  doors,  and  led  the  magical 
horse  out  by  twelve  chains.  Katoma  went  up  to  him, 
and  as  soon  as  ever  he  had  swung  himself  on  to  the  horse's 
back  the  steed  rose  high  into  the  air,  higher  than  the 
tree-tops  in  the  forest,  lower  than  the  clouds  in  heaven. 
But  Katoma  had  a  firm  seat,  and  with  one  hand  he  held 
the  mane,  and  with  the  other  he  fetched  an  iron  sheet 
out  of  his  pocket  and  struck  the  palfrey  between  the  ears. 

One  sheet  broke,  then  he  took  a  second  and  a  third  ; 
and  after  the  third  broke  he  was  taking  the  fourth. 
The  horse  was  so  tired  that  it  could  not  resist  him  any 
more,  but  spoke  in  a  human  voice :  "  Father  Katoma, 
leave  me  some  life,  and  I  will  come  down  to  earth  and 
whatever  you  will  I  will  do." 

"  Listen  then,  wretched  animal !  "  Katoma  answered. 
"  To-morrow  Ivan  Tsarevich  will  ride  you  to  his  wedding. 
Listen  !  When  the  servants  take  you  into  the  broad 
courtyard,  and  he  comes  up  to  you  and  lays  his  hand 
on  you,  stand  still :  do  not  prick  your  ear.  When  he 
mounts,  kneel  down  with  your  hoofs  on  the  ground, 
and  step  under  him  with  a  heavy  tread  as  if  you  were 
bearing  a  burdensome  load."  So  the  horse  sank  half- 
dead  on  to  the  earth.  Katoma,  seated  by  the  tail,  hailec 
the  grooms  and  said,  "  Ho,  you  there  !  grooms  am 
coachmen,  take  this  carrion  into  the  stable." 

Next  day  came,  and  the  hour  for  going  to  church. 
The  Tsarevna  had  a  carriage  ready,  and  the  Tsarevicl 


LEGLESS  KNIGHT  AND  BLIND  KNIGHT     325 

was  given  the  magical  horse.  And  from  all  parts  of  the 
country  the  people  had  assembled  in  multitudes,  count- 
less multitudes,  to  see  the  bride  and  bridegroom  leave 
the  white  stone  palace.  And  the  Tsarevna  went  into 
the  carriage  and  was  waiting  to  see  what  would  happen 
to  Ivan  Tsarevich.  She  thought  to  herself  that  the 
horse  would  prance  him  up  against  the  winds,  and  that 
she  could  already  see  his  bones  scattered  in  the  open 
fields. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  went  up  to  the  horse,  laid  his  hand 
on  its  back,  put  his  foot  into  the  stirrup,  and  the  magical 
horse  stood  there  as  though  he  were  made  of  stone,  and 
never  pricked  an  ear.  The  Tsarevich  mounted  it,  and 
the  horse  bowed  deep  to  the  earth.  Then  his  twelve 
chains  were  taken  off.  And  he  stood  with  a  heavy  even 
tread,  whilst  the  sweat  ran  down  his  back  in  streams. 

"  What  a  hero  he  is  !  What  enormous  strength  !  "  all 
the  people  said  as  Ivan  Tsarevich  paced  by. 

So  the  bride  and  the  bridegroom  were  betrothed,  and 
went  hand-in-hand  out  of  the  church. 

The  Tsarevna  still  wanted  to  test  her  husband's 
strength,  and  squeezed  his  hand,  but  she  squeezed  so 
hard  that  he  could  not  stand  it,  and  his  blood  mounted 
to  his  head,  and  his  eyes  almost  fell  out  of  their  sockets. 
"  That's  the  manner  of  hero  you  are  !  "  she  thought. 
"  Your  man,  Katoma  Oaken-cap,  has  deceived  me  finely. 
But  I  shall  soon  be  even  with  him." 

Anna  Tsarevna  the  Fair  lived  with  her  God-sent 
husband  as  a  good  wife  should,  and  always  listened  to 
his  words.  But  she  was  ever  thinking  how  she  might 
destroy  Katoma.  If  she  knew  that,  she  could  very 
easily  dispose  of  the  Tsarevich.  But,  however  many 
slanders  she  might  think  of  to  tell  him,  Ivan  Tsarevich 
never  believed  her,  but  held  Katoma  fast. 

One  year  later  he  said  to  his  wife :  "  Dear  wife,  beauti- 
ful Tsarevna,  I  should  like  to  go  home  with  you." 


326  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


"  Yes,  we  will  go  together.  I  have  long  wished  to 
see  your  kingdom." 

So  they  set  out,  and  Katoma  sat  behind  the  coachman 
As  they  drove  out  Ivan  Tsarevich  dozed  off. 

Then  Anna  the  Fair  suddenly  roused  him  from  his 
sleep  and  complained.  "  Listen,  Ivan  Tsarevich :  you 
are  always  asleep  and  notice  nothing.  Katoma  will  not 
obey  me,  but  is  purposely  taking  the  horses  over  all  the 
cobbles  and  into  all  the  ditches,  as  if  he  wanted  to 
destroy  us.  I  spoke  to  him  very  gently,  but  he  only 
laughs  at  me.  I  will  not  go  on  living  if  you  do  not  punish 
him  !  " 

Ivan  Tsarevich  was  drowsy,  and  very  angry  with 
Katoma,  and  said  to  the  king's  daughter  :  "  Do  with  him 
as  you  will." 

So  the  king's  daughter  at  once  made  her  servants  cut 
off  Katoma's  legs.  He  submitted  to  his  torturers  and 
thought :  "  If  I  must  suffer,  still  the  Tsarevich  will 
soon  learn  something  of  what  trouble  is." 

His  two  legs  were  cut  off :  the  Tsarevna  looked  round 
and  noticed  a  lofty  stump  at  the  edge  of  the  road.  She 
bade  her  servants  set  Katoma  on  it.  And  as  to  the 
Tsarevich,  she  tied  him  to  a  rope  behind  the  carriage, 
and  so  returned  to  her  own  kingdom.  Katoma  sat  on 
his  tree  stem  and  wept  bitter  tears. 

"  Farewell,  Ivan  Tsarevich :    forget  me  not !  " 

Ivan  Tsarevich  had  to  leap  behind  the  carriage,  and 
knew  very  well  that  he  had  made  a  mistake,  but  it  could 
not  be  cured. 

When  Anna  the  Fair  had  again  reached  her  kingdo 
the  Tsarevich  had  to  mind  the  cows.  Every  mornin 
he  drove  them  into  the  open  field,  and  every  evenin 
drove  them  back  into  the  royal  courtyard  ;  and  th 
Tsarevna  sat  on  the  balcony  and  saw  that  none  of  t 
cows  was  missing.  Ivan  Tsarevich  had  to  count  th 
cows  and  to  stable  them  all,  and  to  give  the  last  one 


j 

I 


LEGLESS  KNIGHT  AND  BLIND  KNIGHT     327 

kiss  under  its  tail.  The  cow  knew  what  was  expected  of 
her,  and  remained  standing  at  the  door  and  lifted  her 
tail  up. 

Katoma  all  day  long  sat  on  his  tree-stump  without 
meat  or  drink,  but  could  not  descend,  and  he  thought : 
"  I  must  die  of  hunger."  But  near  by  there  was  a  thick 
forest,  and  there  a  knight  lived  who  was  blind  but  very 
strong.  This  knight  used  to  scent  the  animals  which 
ran  by,  run  after  them  and  catch  them,  not  minding 
whether  it  were  a  rabbit,  or  fox,  or  a  bear.  He  could 
roast  them  for  lunch.  And  he  could  run  so  fast,  faster 
than  any  animal  that  leaps.  One  day  a  fox  came  by, 
and  the  knight  heard  him  and  ran  after  him.  The  fox 
ran  up  to  the  tree  on  which  Katoma  sat,  and  turned 
round  there.  In  his  haste  the  blind  man  struck  the 
tree  so  hard  with  his  forehead  that  it  fell  out  with  its 
roots.  Katoma  tumbled  down  and  asked :  "  Who  are 
you  ?  " 

"  I  am  the  blind  knight,  and  for  three  years  I  have 
lived  in  the  wood,  feeding  myself  on  the  animals  I  can 
catch  and  bake  on  my  fire  ;  otherwise  I  should  have  died 
of  hunger." 

"  Were  you  blind  from  birth  ?  " 

"  No  ;  Anna  the  Fair  put  my  eyes  out." 

"  Brother  !  "  said  Katoma,  "  she  also  cut  off  my  legs, 
both  of  them." 

So  the  two  knights  decided  they  would  live  together 
and  aid  each  other. 

The  blind  man  said  to  Katoma,  "  Sit  on  my  back  and 
show  me  the  way :  I  will  serve  you  with  my  feet  and 
you  me  with  your  eyes."  The  blind  man  lifted  Katoma 
up,  and  the  legless  man  cried  out,  "  Left ;  right ; 
straight  on  !  "  So  for  a  long  while  they  lived  in  the  wood 
and  used  to  catch  rabbits,  foxes  and  bears  for  their  food. 

One  day  Katoma  said :  "  Why  should  we  live  alone 
here  ?  I  am  told  that  there  is  in  the  town  a  rich  mer- 


328  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

chant  and  his  daughter.  She,  they  say,  is  indescribably 
kind  towards  the  poor  men  and  cripples,  and  gives  them 
alms  with  her  own  hands.  Brother,  we  must  carry  her 
off.  She  shall  live  with  us  as  the  mistress  of  the  house." 

So  the  blind  man  took  a  barrow,  put  the  legless  knight 
into  it,  and  ran  him  into  the  town,  up  to  the  merchant's 
house.  When  the  daughter  looked  out  of  the  window 
she  instantly  rushed  out  in  order  to  give  them  alms. 
She  came  to  Katoma  and  said,  "  Take  this  as  God's 
blessing  !  " 

He  accepted  her  gift  and  laid  hold  of  her  hand, 
dragged  her  into  the  barrow,  and  cried  out  to  the  blind 
man,  who  ran  away  so  fast,  faster  than  any  horses  could 
overtake  him.  It  was  all  in  vain  for  the  merchant  to 
try  to  overtake  the  two  knights.  The  knights  brought 
the  merchant's  daughter  to  their  izba1  in  the  wood  and 
said :  "  Stay  with  us  as  our  sister,  and  become  the  mis- 
tress of  the  house.  We  poor  folk  have  no  one  to  cook 
our  food  or  to  do  the  washing.  God  will  not  desert  you 
therefor." 

So  the  merchant's  daughter  remained  with  them,  and 
the  two  knights  honoured  and  loved  her  as  though  she 
were  their  own  sister.  Sometimes  they  went  a-hunting, 
and  then  the  sister  remained  alone  in  the  house  looking 
after  the  domestic  service,  cooking  the  food  and  doing 
the  washing.  But  one  day  Baba  Yaga  with  the  bony  legs 
came  into  the  hut  and  sucked  the  blood  out  of  the  fair 
maiden's  breast.  And  whenever  the  two  knights  went 
away  on  the  chase,  Baba  Yaga  came  back,  so  that  very 
soon  the  merchant's  fair  daughter  became  thin  and  feeble. 
But  the  blind  man  did  not  notice  :  only  Katoma  noticed 
that  something  had  gone  wrong,  so  he  told  his  com- 
panion, and  both  asked  their  sister  what  was  the  cause. 

Baba  Yaga  had  forbidden  her  to  tell  them  anything 
about  it ;   she  was  therefore  much  too  frightened  for  a 

'  Hut. 


LEGLESS  KNIGHT  AND  BLIND  KNIGHT     329 

long  time  to  tell  them  what  was  her  trouble.  But  at 
last  they  persuaded  her,  and  she  told  them :  "  Every 
time  when  you  go  out  on  the  chase  an  ancient  hag  comes 
into  the  hut.  She  has  an  evil  face  and  long  grey  hairs. 
She  hangs  her  head  down  over  me  and  sucks  my  white 
breast." 

"  Oh,"  said  the  blind  man,  "  that  is  the  Baba  Yaga  ! 
Wait  a  little  bit.  We  must  deal  with  her  in  her  own 
fashion.  To-morrow  we  must  not  go  hunting :  we  will 
try  to  catch  her  in  the  house  and  to  capture  her." 

Next  morning  both  of  them  went  out.  "  Creep  under 
the  bench,"  said  the  blind  man  to  Katoma,  and  sit  still. 
I  will  go  into  the  courtyard,  and  wait  under  the  window. 
And  you,  Sister,  sit  down.  If  Baba  Yaga  comes,  whilst 
you  are  combing  her  hair  weave  a  part  of  her  hair  and 
hang  the  knot  on  to  the  window.  I  will  then  seize  her 
-by  her  grey  tresses."  It  was  said  and  done.  The  blind 
man  seized  Baba  Yaga  by  her  grey  tresses,  and  cried  out, 
"  Ho,  Katoma  !  come  out  and  hold  the  evil  hag  till  I 
get  into  the  hut." 

Baba  Yaga  heard  it,  and  she  wanted  to  lift  her  head 
and  leap  away,  but  she  was  unable.  She  tore  and  grum- 
bled, but  it  was  no  good.  Katoma  crept  out  from  the 
bank  and  turned  round  on  her,  threw  himself  on  her 
like  a  mountain  of  iron.  He  strangled  her  until  the 
heavens  appeared  to  her  as  small  as  a  sheepskin. 

The  blind  man  sprang  out  of  the  hut  and  said :  "  We 
must  build  a  big  faggot-heap  and  burn  the  old  hag  and 
scatter  her  ashes  to  the  four  winds." 

Baba  Yaga  besought  them :  "  Father,  doveling,  for- 
give me.  Whatever  you  will  I  will  do  !  " 

"  Very  well,  ancient  witch,"  said  the  knights,  "  show 
us  the  well  with  the  waters  of  Life  and  Death." 

"  If  you  will  only  not  lay  me  low,  I  will  show  it 
you." 

Then  Katoma  mounted  the  blind  man's  back  and  he 


330  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

took  Baba  Yaga  by  her  hair.  So  they  fared  into  the 
deepest  part  of  the  slumberous  forest,  and  she  there 
showed  them  a  well  and  said  :  "  This  is  the  healing  water 
that  renders  life." 

"  Take  care,  Katoma,  do  not  make  a  mistake.  If  she 
deceives  us  this  time  we  may  not  be  able  to  repair  it  all 
our  life  long." 

So  Katoma  broke  off  a  twig.  It  had  hardly  fallen  into 
the  water  before  it  flamed  up. 

"  Ah  !   that  was  a  further  deceit  of  yours  !  " 

So  the  two  knights  made  ready  to  throw  Baba  Yaga 
into  the  fiery  brook.  But  she  still  prayed  for  mercy  as 
before,  and  swore  a  great  oath  she  would  not  deceive 
any  more. 

"  Really  and  truly  I  will  show  you  the  right  water  !  " 

So  the  two  knights  were  ready  once  more  to  adventure 
it,  and  Baba  Yaga  took  them  to  another  well.  Katoma 
broke  off  a  dry  twig  from  the  tree  and  threw  it  into  the 
well.  The  twig  had  hardly  fallen  into  the  water  before 
it  sprouted  up  and  became  green  and  blue.  "  This 
water  is  right,"  said  Katoma,  so  the  blind  man  washed 
his  eyes  and  could  at  once  see.  And  he  put  the  cripple 
into  the  water,  and  his  legs  grew  on  to  him. 

Then  they  were  both  very  glad,  and  said,  "  Now  we 
are  healthy,  we  will  again  talk  of  our  own  rights ;  but 
we  must  first  settle  our  account  with  Baba  Yaga.  If  we 
now  forgive  her,  we  shall  get  no  good  thereby,  for  she 
will  strive  ever  against  us  all  her  life."  So  they  took  her 
back  to  the  fiery  brook  and  threw  her  into  it,  and  she 
was  burned  to  death. 

Katoma  then  married  the  merchant's  daughter,  and 
all  three  went  back  into  the  kingdom  of  Anna  Tsarevna 
the  Fair  to  free  Ivan  Tsarevich.  They  went  into  the 
capital,  and  there  he  met  them  with  his  herd  of  cows. 

"  Stay,  herd,"  said  Katoma,  "  whither  are  you  driving 
the  cattle  ?  " 


LEGLESS  KNIGHT  AND  BLIND  KNIGHT     331 

"  Into  the  Queen's  courtyard  ;  the  Tsarevna  counts 
them  every  day  to  see  whether  all  the  cows  have  come 
home." 

"  Herd,  put  on  my  clothes ;  I  will  put  on  yours  and 
will  drive  the  cows  home." 

"  No,  brother,  that  will  never  do.  Should  the  Tsar- 
evna notice  it,  I  should  suffer." 

"  Fear  nothing ;  nothing  will  happen,  you  will  come 
by  no  harm  ;  Katoma  is  your  surety." 

Ivan  sighed :  "  O  good  man  !  if  only  he  were  here 
I  should  not  be  herding  cows." 

Then  Katoma  showed  himself  who  he  was,  and  the 
Tsarevich  embraced  him  tenderly  and  wept  bitterly. 
"  I  never  expected  I  should  see  you  any  more  !  " 

So  they  changed  clothes,  and  Katoma  drove  the  cows 
into  the  royal  courtyard.  Anna  Tsarevna  came  out  on 
to  her  balcony  and  counted  the  cattle.  Then  she  com- 
manded to  take  them  all  into  the  stable.  All  the  cows 
went  into  the  stable :  only  the  last  stayed  behind  and 
raised  her  tail.  Katoma  sprang  up  at  her  and  cried  out, 
"  Wretched  animal !  why  are  you  stopping  here  ?  " 
So  he  gripped  and  snatched  the  tail  so  mightily  that  the 
entire  skin  remained  in  his  hand. 

When  Anna  Tsarevna  saw  this  she  cried  out  aloud, 
"  What  is  that  wretched  herdsman  doing  ?  Lay  hold 
of  him  and  bring  him  to  me." 

So  the  attendants  laid  hold  on  Katoma  and  dragged 
him  into  the  castle.  Katoma  suffered  it  without  resist- 
ence  and  relied  on  his  strength. 

He  was  taken  up  to  the  Tsarevna,  who  looked  at  him 
and  said,  "  Who  are  you  ?  " 

"  I  am  Katoma,  whose  legs  you  once  cut  off  and  then 
set  on  a  tree  trunk." 

Then  the  Tsarevna  thought,  "  If  he  can  get  his  legs 
back,  I  can  do  no  more  against  him."  And  she  asked  for 
forgiveness  from  him  and  the  Tsarevich.  She  repented 


332 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


of  her  sins  and  swore  an  oath  that  she  would  ever  love 
Ivan  Tsarevich  and  obey  him  in  all  things. 

Ivan  Tsarevich  forgave  her,  and  forthwith  they  lived 
in  peace  and  unison.  The  knight  who  was  once  blind 
stayed  by  them.  But  Katoma  went  away  with  his  wife 
to  the  rich  merchant  and  abode  in  his  house. 


A    CURE    FOR   STORY-TELLING 

THERE  was  once  a  porter  in  the  world :  he  had  a  wife 
who  was  passionately  fond  of  stories,  and  she  would  only 
let  people  come  and  visit  her  who  could  tell  stories. 
Well,  as  you  may  understand,  this  was  rather  costly  to 
the  husband.  So  he  began  to  think,  "  How  can  I  cure 
her  of  this  undesirable  habit  ?  " 

Well,  one  day  in  the  winter,  late  at  night,  an  old  man 
came  in  frozen  to  atoms,  and  he  asked  to  be  allowed  to 
stop  the  night.  So  the  husband  ran  out  to  him  and 
said,  "  Can  you  tell  tales  ?  " 

Then  the  peasant  saw  that  there  was  no  help  for  it, 
as  he  was  simply  freezing  with  cold,  and  said,  "  I  have 
an  idea :  will  you  tell  stories  for  a  long  time  ?  " 

"  Yes,  all  night  long." 

"  Capital :    come  in  !  " 

So  he  led  the  guest  in. 

Then  the  husband  said,  "  Now,  my  wife,  here  is  a 
peasant  who  has  promised  to  tell  stories  all  night  long, 
on  the  condition  that  you  are  not  to  make  any  remarks 
or  interruptions." 

"  Yes,"  said  the  guest ;  "  no  remarks,  or  else  I  shall 
not  open  my  mouth." 

So  they  had  supper  and  lay  down  to  sleep,  and  the 
peasant  began — 

There  was  an  owl  flying  across  a  garden,  and  it  sat  over  a  well 

and  sipped  the  water. 
"  There  was  an  owl  flying  across  a  garden,  and  it  eat  over  a  well 
and  sipped  the  water. 

333 


334  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


"  There  was  an  owl  flying  across  a  garden,  and  it  sat  over  a  well 

and  sipped  the  water. 
"  There  was  an  owl  flying  across  a  garden,  and  it  sat  over  a  well 

and  sipped  the  water." 

And  he  went  on  telling  the  same  thing  over  and  over 
again — 

"  There  was  an  owl  flying  across  a  garden,  and  it  sat  over  a  well 
and  sipped  the  water." 


: 


So  the  mistress  went  on  listening,  and  at  last  inte 
rupted :  "  What  sort  of  a  tale  is  this  ?  Why,  it  is 
mere  repetition." 

"  Why  do  you  interrupt  me  ?  I  told  you  you  must 
not  make  any  exclamations :  this  is  the  preface  of  the 
tale,  and  there  comes  another  after  it." 

Then  the  man,  after  hearing  this,  could  not  help 
leaping  up  from  the  bench  and  whipping  his  wife. 

"  You  were  told  not  to  make  any  interruptions,  and 
you  will  not  let  him  end  his  story." 

So  he  set  on  beating,  beating,  whipping,  slippering, 
basting  her,  until  the  wife  at  the  end  hated  stories,  an 
was  in  despair  ever  afterwards  at  the  sound  of  them. 


NOTES 

Alyosha  Popovick.  One  of  the  great  knights  at  the  court  of 
Prince  Vladimir.  He  was  an  effeminate  kind  of  person  and 
perhaps  one  who  rather  incited  others  to  effort  by  his  jibes  than 
by  his  prowess.  He  is  always  given  the  uncomplimentary  soubri- 
quet of  the  *  Mocker  of  Women.'  His  principal  heroic  episode  is 
told  in  the  prose  ballad  in  this  book  entitled  '  Alyosha  Popovich.' 

Angey,  Tsar.  Filuyan  is  a  fabulous  city  found  in  the  cantations 
and  mystical  rites  of  the  Russian  peasants.  It  is,  however,  probably 
derived  from  the  Greek  QvXtj. 

Bdba  Tagd.  In  Professor  Sypherd's  studies  on  Chaucer's 
House  of  Fame,  Chaucer  Society,  1904,  a  most  valuable  note  will 
be  found  on  revolving  houses.  It  will  be  seen  that  the  legend  is 
cognate  with  magic  wheels  that  revolve  at  great  speed,  or  turn 
on  wheels  emitting  flame  and  poison.  The  nearest  analogy 
quoted  is  the  whirling  rampart  in  the  Mael  Duinn,  but  the 
Russian  legend  is  evidently  related  and  not  derived. 

Bogatyr.  The  bogatyr  is  the  Russian  Knight,  but  is  absolutely 
unlike  any  Western  romantic  notion.  He  is  a  person  of  magical 
power  and  gigantic  stature  and  prowess.  Some  of  the  bogatyri 
are  decidedly  demi-gods  ;  others  more  decisively  human  ;  but 
they  all  have  some  superhuman,  it  may  be  said  inhuman,  touch. 
The  derivation  of  the  word  has  been  very  much  in  dispute.  The 
characteristic  thing  to  note  is  that  the  word  is  only  found  in 
Russian,  and  in  no  other  Slavonic  language,  and  is  almost  cer- 
tainly of  Tatar  origin,  the  original  form  being  something  like 
Bagadur.  The  Sanskrit  derivation  which  is  attempted  of  Bagha- 
dhara  seems  scarcely  probable.  Goryayev's  dictionary  states  that 
the  original  meaning  was  a  company-commander  of  the  Tatars. 

335 


336  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

If  so,  bogatyr  is  probably  a  corruption  (through  bog  God  and  bogat 
rich)  of  the  form  buitur,  found  in  the  Slovo,  which  is  certainly 
cognate  with  the  Turanian  root  buiy  to  command,  v .  notes  in  my 
edition  of  Igor. 

Bryansk.  Bryansk  in  the  Province  of  Orel  contains  wonderful 
woods  which  were  in  ancient  times  impenetrable,  and  became 
the  legendary  home  of  magic,  and  of  weird  happenings.  The 
Aspen  tree  is  always  associated  in  Russian  folk-lore  with  magic 
and  wizardry ;  it  is  also  said  that  Judas  hanged  himself  on  this 
tree. 

Chernigov.  An  ancient  city  of  Russia  on  the  Dniepr,  a  little 
higher  up  than  Kiev. 

Christ.  As,  in  German  folk-lore,  the  legends  of  Christ  walking 
the  earth  with  His  disciples  are  very  frequent  and  characteristic. 
There  is  a  touch  of  friendly  familiarity  in  this  presentation  which 
does  not  involve  the  least  irreverence,  but  adds  a  touch  of  sarcastic 
humour  which  the  Germans  lack. 

The  Brother  of  Christ.  For  the  punishment  of  the  old  man 
who  grumbled  at  the  good  things  of  earth  there  is  a  surprisingly 
close  analogy  in  Dante's  Inferno,  canto  vii. 

"  Fitti  nel  limo  dicon  ;  Tristi  fummo 
Nell*  aer  dolce  che  dal  sol  s'allegra, 
Portando  dentro  accidioso  fummo  : 
Or  c'  attristiam  nella  belletta  negra." 

"  Sunk  in  the  slime  they  utter  :  '  Loth  were  we, 
In  sweet  air  sullen,  which  the  sun  makes  glad, 
Our  souls  besmirched  with  dull  reluctancy  : 
Now  in  this  black  morass,  our  hearts  are  sad.'  " 


Chufil-Filyushka.    Both   these  names  are  adaptations  of 
Greek 


NOTES  337 

THE  CRYSTAL  APPLE  AND  THE  SILVER  SAUCER 

There  is  a  strong  Celtic  flavour  about  this  episode.  Cf.  The 
Twa  Sisters  o'  Binnorie. 

Ho's  ta'en  three  locks  o'  her  yellow  hair 

(Binnorie,  oh  Binnorie), 
And  wi'  them  strung  his  harp  sae  rare 

By  the  bonny  mill-dams  of  Binnorie. 

And  sune  the  harp  sang  loud  and  clear 

(Binnorie,  oh  Binnorie), 
Fareweel  my  father,  and  mother  dear  ! 

By  the  bonny  mill-dams  of  Binnorie. 

And  then,  as  plain  as  plain  could  be, 

(Binnorie,  oh  Binnorie), 
There  sits  my  sister  wha  drowned  me  ! 

By  the  bonny  mill-dams  o'  Binnorie. 

In  this  story  the  Russian  of  the  words  sung  by  the  piper  is 
also  in  Russian  ballad  metre. 

Danilo  the  Unfortunate,  This  is  a  prose  version  of  a  ballad  and 
contains  a  very  full  account  of  this  legend.  The  old  hag  whom 
Danilo  meets  on  the  way  is  elsewhere  called  the  Wise  Woman  of 
Kiev,  an  old  witch  with  the  ugly  qualities  generally  assigned. 

I  /  Death.  Death  is  feminine  in  Russian  and  occurs  all  through 
the  folk-lore  as  the  visible  figure  of  a  skeleton  whom  they  met 
by  the  way  on  the  roadsides,  and  who  may  be  cheated  of  her 
prey  or  dealt  with  like  any  other  demon. 

Dobrynya  Nikitich.  One  of  the  great  figures  at  the  legendary 
court  of  Prince  Vladimir.  He  was  a  dragon-slayer,  but  his 
principal  employment  was  as  ambassador. 


338  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

THE  DREAM.    NOTES 

The  izba,  or  hut,  always  has  a  dvor  or  courtyard,  access  to 
which  is  gained  through  double  gates  as  well  as  through  a  postern. 
Often  the  hut  is  raised  by  a  flight  of  steps  from  the  level  of  the 
courtyard. 

The  izba,  may  have  a  cooling  room  in  which  to  rest,  so  as  to 
avoid  the  sudden  change  of  air  from  the  heated  inner  room ; 
it  is  also  a  living  room  in  the  summer.  Outside  the  dvor  against 
the  fence  there  is  a  bench  (Idvka),  on  which  the  family  sits  in 
the  summer.  The  hut  is  made  of  logs,  the  fence  of  boards. 

Between  the  rafters  and  the  sloped  roof  is  the  loft  (cherddk\ 
into  which  a  ladder  leads. 

Inside  the  hut  is  that  essential  and  central  feature  of  Russian 
peasant  life,  the  stove,  which  occupies  one  side  of  a  wall.  In 
front  against  it  three  long  implements  stand,  the  poker,  broom 
and  shovel.  The  oven  rests  on  a  brick  or  tile  foundation,  about 
eighteen  inches  high,  with  a  semicircular  hollow  space  below. 
The  top  of  the  stove  is  used  for  a  sleeping  bench  (poldty)  for  the 
old  folk  or  the  honoured  guest.  In  larger  houses  there  may  be  a 
lezkdrfka  or  heating  stove,  used  as  a  sleeping  sofa. 

The  bath-house  is  separate  from  the  hut,  and  contains  a 
flight  of  steps  for  different  degrees  of  heat,  obtained  from  white- 
hot  stones  on  which  water  is  flung.  This  is  only  found  in  better- 
class  houses.  In  villages  there  is  a  general  bath-house  to  which 
the  peasants  go  once  a  week. 

Every  corner  in  the  izba  has  its  particular  name.  There  is 
the  great  corner,  where  the  Ikon  stands,  the  upper  corner  near  the 
door,  and  the  stove  corner  opposite  to  the  doors  of  the  stove. 

The  fence  is  made  of  boards  or  sticks  or  stumps. 

Long  thin  laths  are  stuck  on  to  an  iron  spike,  and  lit ;  a  pail 
of  water  is  placed  below  into  which  the  cinders  fall ;  these 
lamps  must  be  renewed  as  they  burn  down,  and  the  charred  ends 
swept  up. 

Up  to  very  recent  times,  patriarchal  usages  obtained  through 
Russia,  and  married  sons  resided  in  the  father's  house. 

This  particular  story  portrays  some  of  the  personifications  and 
allegorizings  of  the  common  acts  of  life  ;  all  of  which  have  their 
appropriate  blessing  or  grace.  There  are  a  number  of  tales  of 


NOTES  339 

the  curse  attendant  on  the  neglect  of  these  duties,  e.g.  The  Devil 
in  the  Dough-pan. 

An  example  of  the  invocations  is  given  in  a  note  to  The  Mid- 
night Dance. 

Duke.  i.e.  a  translation  of  voyevodd,  which  is  again  a  trans- 
lation of  the  High-German  Herzog,  which  again  is  derived  from 
the  Latin  Dux,  meaning  the  leader  of  an  army,  not  a  mere  title. 

Egori  Kbrabry.  Egori  the  Brave.  Is  the  Russian  counter- 
part for  St.  George  the  Dragon-slayer. 

Elijah  the  Prophet  and  St.  Nicholas.  Perun  was  the  God  of 
Thunder  in  pagan  Slavdom,  and  his  attributes  have  been  trans- 
ferred to  Elijah  who  is  represented  as  driven  up  to  Heaven 
in  a  fiery  chariot  darting  fiery  rays,  drawn  by  four  winged 
horses,  and  surrounded  by  clouds  and  flames ;  a  tale  which 
copied  the  biblical  account  of  Elijah's  end.  On  earth  the 
noise  of  the  wheels  is  called  thunder.  In  Novgorod  there 
were  one  or  two  churches  to  St.  Elijah  of  the  Drought,  and 
St.  Elijah  of  the  Rain,  to  be  consulted  as  occasion  required. 
The  name  days  of  these  saints  are  December  6th  and  July  2Oth. 

Hawk.  The  hawk  is  one  of  the  most  common  references  in 
Russian  folk-lore,  and  the  reference  to  the  clear-eyed  hawk  is 
one  of  the  strongest  metaphors.  The  crow  is  equally  common, 
but  is  generally  used  as  a  malign  being.  In  Russian  folk-tale  there 
is  nothing  incongruous  in  a  man  having  as  his  sons  a  boy,  a  crow 
and  a  hawk  or  an  eagle  :  or  as  in  *  Marya  Morevna,'  where  the 
marriage  of  Ivan  with  a  beautiful  princess  and  of  his  two  sisters 
with  the  eagle  and  the  crow  are  all  of  them  equally  plausible. 

Idolishche.  One  of  the  symbols  of  paganism  in  the  early  ballads 
of  Russia.  He  is  generally  represented  as  a  gluttonous  monster ; 
but  in  the  ballad  of  the  Realms  of  Copper,  Silver,  and  Gold  his 
name  has  been  given  too  as  a  goblin.  Goblins  are  very  rare  in 
Russian  folk-lore  ;  fairies  seem  to  be  non-existent. 


340  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

llyd  Muromets.  Ilya  Muromets  is  one  of  the  heroes  of  the 
Kiev  cycle  ;  he  derives  his  strength  from  mystical  sources  of 
Mother  Earth,  and  his  great  feat  is  the  slaying  of  the  Nightingale 
Robber.  He  is  intermediate  between  the  '  elder  bogatyri,'  the 
earth-born  Tirans,  and  the  human  champions  of  the  legendary 
Court  of  Vladimir.  He  is  always  of  popular  origin  and,  as  such, 
at  variance  with  the  semi-Scandinavian  Court. 

Ivan  VasiVevich.  The  Tsar  Ivan  Vasil'evich  is  a  very  popular 
figure  in  the  Russian  ballads ;  there  are  two  of  this  name  : 
Ivan  III.  1462-1505,  and  Ivan  the  Terrible,  1533-1584.  Both 
were  very  energetic  rulers  who  enlarged  the  domain  of  Moscow 
and  curbed  the  power  of  the  territorial  nobility. 

MIDNIGHT  DANCE.     GENERAL  NOTES  TO  THIS  STORY 

The  underworld  is  the  home  of  magic.  This  charm,  to  be 
said  by  a  soldier  going  to  the  wars,  may  be  of  interest. 

"  Beneath  the  sea,  the  sea  of  Khvalynsk  [the  Caspian],  there 
stands  a  house  of  bronze,  and  in  that  house  of  bronze  the  fiery 
serpent  is  enchained,  and  under  the  fiery  serpent  lies  the  seven 
•pud  key  from  the  castle  of  the  Prince,  the  Prince  Vladimir,  and 
in  the  princely  castle,  the  castle  of  Vladimir,  are  laid  the  knightly 
trappings  of  the  knights  of  Novgorod,  of  the  youthful  war-men. 

"  On  the  broad  Volga,  on  the  steep-set  banks,  the  princely  swan 
swims  from  the  Prince's  courtyard.  I  will  capture  that  swan,  I 
will  seize  it,  I  will  grasp  it.  (I  will  say)  *  Thou,  oh  swan,  fly  to 
the  sea  of  Khvalynsk,  peck  the  fiery  snake  to  death,  gain  the  seven 
pud  key,  the  key  from  the  earth  of  Prince  Vladimir.'  In  mj 
power  it  is  not  to  fly  to  the  sea  of  Khvalynsk  ;  in  my  power  it  is 
not  to  peck  to  death  the  fiery  snake ;  nor  with  my  legs  may 
reach  the  seven  -pud  key.  There  is  on  the  sea,  on  the  oceai 
on  the  island  of  Buyan,  the  eldest  brother  of  all  the  crows,  anc 
he  will  fly  to  the  sea  of  Khvalynsk,  he  will  peck  to  death  the 
fiery  snake,  he  will  gain  the  seven  pud  key  ;  but  the  crow  is  helc 
back  by  the  evil  witch  of  Kiev.  In  the  standing  wood,  in  the 
grey-clad  forest,  stands  a  little  hut,  not  thatched,  not  wattled 
and,  in  the  little  hut,  lies  the  evil  witch  of  Kiev.  I  will  go  tc 
the  standing  forest,  the  dreamy  wood,  I  will  enter  in  at  the  hut 
of  the  evil  witch  of  Kiev. 


NOTES  341 

"  Thou,  oh  evil  witch  of  Kiev,  bid  thy  crow  fly  over  the  sea  of 
Khvalynsk,  to  the  house  of  bronze  ;  bid  him  peck  the  fiery  snake, 
bid  him  gain  the  seven  pud  key.  She  was  grim,  and  she  clove  to 
her  crow,  the  evil  witch  of  Kiev.  In  my  old  age  I  cannot  roam 
to  the  sea,  to  the  ocean,  to  the  isle  of  Buyan,  to  the  Black  Crow. 
Do  thou  bid,  by  my  enchanting  words,  the  crow  gain  me  the  seven 
pud  key. 

"The  crow  has  smitten  the  house  of  bronze,  has  pecked  the 
fiery  snake  to  death,  has  gained  the  seven  pud  key. 

"  With  that  key  I  will  unlock  the  princely  castle,  the  castle  of 
Vladimir,  I  will  gain  the  knightly  gear,  the  trappings  of  the 
knights  of  Novgorod,  of  the  youthful  war-men ;  and  in  that 
gear  the  arquebus  cannot  fell  me,  the  shots  cannot  hit  me,  the 
warriors  and  champions,  the  hosts  of  Tatary  and  Kazan  cannot 
hurt  me. 

"  I  invoke  the  servant,  a  man,  a  fighter,  in  the  host,  who  goeth 
to  war  with  these  my  potent  words. 

"  My  words  die  down, 
My  deeds  they  crown." 

[Kazan  was  the  last  stronghold  of  the  Tatars.  It  was  stormed 
in  1549.] 

Buydn  is  a  kind  of  fairy  hill  like  the  Tir  n'an  og  of  the  Irish 
folk-tales,  the  land  of  youth,  and  cannot  probably  be  assigned 
to  any  physical  geography.  Most  probably  the  mythical  Isle  of 
Buyan  is  the  reminiscence  of  the  Isle  of  Riigen.  The  whole  of  the 
Pomeranian  coast  from  Liibeck  to  the  Memel  was,  prior  to  its 
conquest  by  the  Saxons  and  the  Brandenburgers,  a  Slavonic 
district,  and  the  Isle  of  Riigen,  in  especial,  the  promontory  of 
Arcona,  a  seat  of  the  most  highly  developed  Slavonic  pagan  ritual : 
Saxo  Grammaticus  has  conserved  us  full  details.  Considering 
the  intimate  association  of  the  mysterious  stone  Alatyr  (probably 
meaning  amber)  with  Buyan  :  and  the  fact  that  Buydn  is  a  Slav 
translation  of  the  Old  Slav  name  Ruyan,  the  wind-swept  isle 
[cf.  English  rough,  German  rauh,  etc.];  also  taken  the  specific 
references  in  the  magic  charms  in  connection  with  the  facts 
recorded  by  the  Scandinavian  chroniclers,  there  seems  to  be  little 
doubt  that  the  Isle  of  Buyan  is  a  folk-tale  shadow  of  the  old  place 


342  RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 

of  Pagan  pilgrimage,  contaminated,  of  course,  with  other  fantastic 
elements. 

Katomd.  This  is  one  of  the  marvellous  servants  whom  for- 
tunate princes  possess  in  folk-lore.  In  Russian  folk-tales  they 
have  magical  attributes,  and  are  often  described  by  their  caps, 
e.g.  oaken-cap,  blue-cap,  etc. 

Koshchey  the  Deathless.  The  meaning  of  this  name  is  very  hard 
to  determine.  There  are  at  least  three  disparate  ideas  involved. 
First  of  all  the  most  ancient  is  that  which  occurs  in  the  Word  of 
Igor's  Armament,  in  which  the  word  Koshchey  is  used  for  a 
warrior  of  the  hostile  Polovtsy ;  and,  when  Igor  is  said  to  be  put 
on  a  Koshchey  saddle,  it  means  he  is  taken  into  captivity.  Hence 
the  word  koshchey  came  to  be  used  in  Russian  as  meaning  a  slave, 
or  a  groom,  originally  a  captive  slave  from  the  Polovtsy  who 
fought  the  Russians  for  over  two  hundred  years.  Consequently 
the  word  has  a  meaning  in  Russian  folk-lore  which  has  a  wide- 
spread Aryan  notion,  that  of  a  fearful  Enchanter  who  lives  in  a 
mountain  fastness  far  removed  ;  runs  away  with  the  beautiful 
princess,  and  can  only  be  slain  by  the  valiant  lover,  going  through 
unfordable  streams,  impenetrable  forests  and  unpassable  moun- 
tains, so  as  to  catch  hold  of  his  soul  which  is  contained  in  a  casket, 
or  in  some  other  manner  is  always  terribly  enclosed.  He  takes 
this  soul,  which  is  as  a  rule  lastly  contained  in  an  egg,  up  to  the 
Monster's  palace,  scrunches  it  in  his  hand,  and  the  monster  dies. 
Thirdly,  the  word  became  confused  with  kost',  bone,  and  so 
came  to  mean  a  skeleton  or  miser,  and  a  wandering  Jew.  The 
epithet  '  deathless  '  does  not  mean  indestructible,  but  that  he 
can  only  be  slain  in  an  extraordinary  manner  and  will  not  die  in 
natural  way. 

Kutuzovo.     The   Kutuzovy  are  one  of  the  most  ancient 
Russian  families  ;    this  particular  village  from  which  they  deri\ 
their   name   must    be    somewhere   on   the   trade   route   of 
Dniepr. 

Kvas.    A  liquid  made  from  various  kinds  of  flour  and  ferments 
with  sour  milk  to  which  is  added  malt  or  yeast. 


NOTES  343 

Name-day.  The  day  of  the  patron  Saint.  In  Russia  Saints'  days 
are  kept  in  place  of  birthdays. 

Na-unt.  In  this  Russian  name  the  two  vowels  are  to  be  sounded 
separately,  Na-um. 

Nightingale  Robber.  His  patronymics  are  Rakhmanovich, 
Odikhmantovich,  Rakhmanya,  all  of  them  very  difficult  of 
definition  or  explanation. 

Nightingale  Robber.  Ilya  Muromet's  conquest  of  the  Night- 
ingale Robber  is  his  most  notable  feat.  He  is  a  very  difficult 
figure  to  explain.  He  is  a  gigantic  bird  who  has  been  explained 
on  the  one  hand  as  a  highway  robber  who  was  a  great  bard,  for 
the  Russian  solovey  (nightingale)  is  applied  to  a  minstrel.  But 
it  is  more  probable  that  there  is  a  confusion  of  two  other  words 
in  this  one,  and  that  the  word  solovey,  which  has  come  to  mean 
nightingale,  is  either  derived  from  slava,  meaning  fame,  or  from 
the  same  root  as  the  hostile  power  whom  Ilya  Muromets,  in  some 
of  the  ballads,  fights,  namely  Solovnik  the  Grey  One.  Be  this  as 
it  may,  the  version  which  has  come  down  is  that  the  Nightingale 
Robber  was  an  enormous  bird,  whose  nest  spread  over  seven  oaks, 
who  had  needed  no  other  weapon  than  his  dreadful  beast-like, 
lion-like,  or  dragon-like  whistle  on  which  every  wall  and  every 
beast  and  every  man  fell  down  in  sheer  terror.  The  rest  of  this 
story  may  be  gathered  from  the  one  which  has  been  selected  for 
this  book. 

The  Pike.    The  pike  plays  a  peculiar  part  in  Russian  folk-lore. 

Potdn'ka.  The  name  of  Potan'ka  [in  which  the  *  n  '  and  '  k  ' 
are  to  be  sounded  separately  as  in  pincase],  is  also  found  in  the 
Novgorod  ballads  where  Potan'ka  the  Lame  is  one  of  the  boon 
companions  of  Vasili  Buslayevich. 

Priskazka.  Many  of  the  tales  begin  with  a  conventional 
introduction  which  has  no  relation  to  the  story.  Such  an 
instance  may  be  found  in  '  The  Wolf  and  the  Tailor.'  Also  in 
'  A  Cure  for  Story-telling.'  And  the  tale  of  '  The  Dun  Cow,' 
'  Princess  to  be  Kissed  at  a  Charge,'  etc. 


344 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


The  Realm  of  Stone.  For  the  episodes  in  this  story  of  the 
kingdom  turned  to  stone  there  seems  strong  evidence  of  adapta- 
tion or  loan  from  the  Arabian  Nights.  Cf.  The  Tale  of  the 
Young  King  of  the  Black  Islands,  and  the  Tale  of  the  City  of 
Brass,  but  the  development  is  very  different. 

Sebezh.    A  city  in  the  Vitebsk  Province  bordering  on  Poland. 

Sbemydk.  The  judge.  Shemyakin  Sud,  the  court  of  Shemyak, 
is  a  proverbial  expression  for  arbitrary  judgments.  He  was  a 
prince  of  Galicia  of  the  time  of  Vasili  II,  1425-62.  He  was  also 
a  leader  of  the  unruly  nobles  of  that  time.  This  may  be  partly 
the  reason  that  the  name  of  the  family  has  been  given  this 
unfortunate  significance. 

The  Shovel.  Shovels  are  used  to  insert  loaves  and  pots  deep 
into  the  Russian  stove,  for  which  use  see  the  long  note  on  the 
'  Dream.' 

The  Sister  of  the  Sun.  The  Russian  commentator  in  the  com- 
pilation, from  which  these  stories  are  drawn,  states  that  this  is  the 
expression  for  the  dawn. 

Sorrow.  This  picture  of  Sorrow  as  an  ancient  hag  who  pursues 
mankind  throughout  life  is  peculiarly  Russian  and  is  the  theme 
of  very  many  beautiful  ballads.  She  is  described  as  a  lovely 
beggar  woman,  with  a  pale  face,  low  stature,  and  hare's  blood  in 
her  veins,  and  her  cheeks  of  poppy  red,  and  she  entices  men  to 
drink  their  sorrow  away  in  the  public-houses,  and  is  frequently 
turned  into  a  moral  lesson  against  over-indulgence.  But  this 
particular  application  of  the  myth,  the  picture  of  her  as  a  wander- 
ing devil  who  attaches  herself  to  unfortunate  heroes  but  can  be 
cheated  into  non-existence,  much  like  the  ordinary  devil  of  folk- 
lore, is  a  feature,  as  has  been  said,  probably  peculiar  to  Russia. 

St.  Nicholas.  In  Russia  St.  Nicholas  is  the  most  popular 
miracle  worker  amongst  all  the  saints.  In  the  story  of  St.  Nicholas 
and  St.  Elias  his  beneficent  character  is  clearly  shown. 

In  the  story  of  St.  Nicholas  the  Wonder  Worker,  I  have  taker 


NOTES  345 

the  story  as  I  found  it,  and  have  not  attempted  to  fill  up  the 
obvious  gaps. 

'The  Sun,  and  how  it  was  made  by  Divine  Will.  This  story  is 
of  literary  and  ancient  origin  ;  the  language  is  very  antique. 

Svyatogor.  Svyatogor  in  this  story  may  be  eponymous  of  geo- 
graphy. The  word  standing  for  svydtyya  gory,  the  sacred  moun- 
tains. Murom  is  an  ancient  Russian  settlement  in  the  province 
of  Vladimir,  by  the  river  Oka,  and  the  village  of  Karacharovo 
is  not  far  off. 

As  to  Svyatogor's  bride,  there  is  another  story  which  tells  how 
he  acquired  her.  One  day  Svyatogor  was  walking  on  the  earth 
and  laid  hold  of  a  wallet  which  an  old  man  whom  he  met  wander- 
ing by  held.  He  could  not  lift  it  however,  for  it  was  rooted  in 
the  earth.  He  went  on  from  there  to  a  smith,  something  like 
Wayland  Smith  (the  whole  tale  has  a  curious  Norse  tang),  who 
forged  his  fortune,  told  him  he  would  have  to  go  to  the  Kingdom 
by  the  Sea,  and  there  he  would  find  his  wife  who  for  thirty  years 
had  been  lying  in  the  dung.  He  proceeds  to  the  Kingdom  by 
the  Sea,  finds  the  miserable  hut,  enters  it,  and  sees  the  maiden 
lying  in  the  dung.  And  her  body  was  as  dark  as  a  pine.  So 
Svyatogor  purchases  her  freedom  by  taking  out  five  hundred 
roubles,  laying  it  on  the  table,  and  then  snatching  up  his  sharp 
sword  out  of  his  sheath  smote  her  on  her  white  breasts  and  so 
left  her.  Then  the  maiden  woke  up,  and  the  skin  of  age-long 
filth  had  been  broken  ;  she  went  and  traded  with  the  five  hundred 
roubles,  came  to  the  Holy  Mountains,  and  presented  herself  there 
in  all  her  maiden  beauty.  Svyatogor  the  Knight  also  came  to 
look  on  her,  fell  in  love  and  wooed  her  for  his  wife.  He  then 
recognised  her  by  the  scar  on  her  white  breasts. 

The  Swan  Maiden.  This  is  one  of  the  most  baffling  figures  in 
Russian  mythology.  She  corresponds  to  the  Siren  of  Greece,  and 
the  Lorelei  of  Germany,  but  is  very  distinct  in  all  her  character- 
istics. She  is  also  called  in  the  Russian  Devitsa  (maiden),  which 
may  be  a  corruption  of  Divitsa,  the  feminine  of  Div,  one  of  the 
ancient  pagan  deities  of  Russia.  Like  the  Lorelei,  she  is  said  to 
sit  on  the  rocks  and  draw  sailors  down  into  the  depths,  but  her 
more  human  characteristics  arc  stated  in  this  story. 


346 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


Thoughtless  Word.  The  devil  in  this  story  is  the  popular  myth 
of  the  water-gods  or  sprites,  elsewhere  called  the  vodyanoy  or 
vodydnik.  The  point  of  detail,  that  after  the  rescue  of  the  maiden 
the  boy  has  to  walk  backwards  until  he  reaches  the  high  road,  is 
rather  similar  to  the  Celtic  notion  of  Widdershins,  the  super- 
stition that  anyone  who  walked  round  the  churchyard  contrary 
to  the  direction  of  the  sun  would  be  captured  by  the  fairies. 


Tugarin  Zmyeyevich. 
the  Serpent's  Son. 


Tugarin  Zmyeyevich,  the  strong  man, 


Fazuza  and  Volga.  Similar  stories  are  told  of  other  rivers. 
The  old  Russian  ballads  give  names  and  patronymics  to  their 
rivers  such  as  the  people  use  for  themselves,  e.g.  Dnepr  Slovutich 
Don  Ivanych. 

The  Vazuza  is  a  short  stream  crossing  the  borders  of  the 
provinces  of  Tver  and  Smolensk,  meeting  a  great  bend  of  the 
V61ga  at  Zubtsov  (in  the  province  of  Tver). 

The  Sea  of  Khvalynsk  is  the  Caspian,  so  called  from  an  ancient 
people  (the  Khvalfsi)  of  the  eleventh  and  tenth  centuries,  who 
lived  at  the  mouth  of  the  Volga  in  the  Caspian.  There  is  also  a 
town  called  Khvalynsk  on  the  Volga  in  the  province  of  Saratov, 
above  the  city  of  Saratov. 

This  particular  story  is  probably  a  poetization  of  a  geographical 
fact,  but  in  all  the  Russian  folk-lore  the  river-gods  play  a  very 
great  part.  Thus  Igor  in  The  Word  of  Igor's  Armament,  on 
the  occasion  of  his  defeat,  has  a  very  beautiful  colloquy  with 
the  Donets.  At  least  two  of  the  heroes  of  the  ballad  cycle, 
Don  Ivanovich  and  Sukhan  Odikhmantevich,  are  in  some  aspects 
direct  personifications  of  the  rivers,  whilst  the  river-gods  exercise 
a  direct  arid  vital  influence  over  the  fortunes  of  several  others, 
such  as  Vasili  Buslavich  and  Dobrynya  Nikitich. 

Many  Russian  rivers  have  been  rendered  almost  into  human 
characters.  The  ordinary  speech  is  still  of  Mother  Volga.  In 
the  Novgorod  ballads  there  is  a  mention  of  Father  Volkhov, 
much  as  we  speak  of  Father  Thames,  and  there  were  very  great 
possibilities  of  the  development  of  a  river  mythology  which  did 
not  succeed.  It  is  worth  observing  that  in  one  ballad  dealing  with 
Vasili  Buslavich,  the  hero  of  Novgorod,  this  semi-comic  figure  is 


NOTES  347 

twitted  by  the  men  of  Novgorod  that  he  will  one  day  turn  the 
Volkhov  into  Kvas  (q.v.)  :  i.e.  he  will  one  day  set  the  Thames  on 
fire.  [Rybnikov,  I,  336]. 

The  Wood-Sprite.  Leshi  is  a  peculiar  feature  in  Russian  folk- 
lore. He  is  somewhat  similar  to  Pan,  but  is  also  represented  as 
having  copper  arms,  and  an  iron  body,  terms  which  refer  to  colour 
rather  than  to  material.  Sometimes  he  has  claws  for  hands. 

Taga  Bura.  This  is  the  same  as  Baba  Yaga,  but  is  specific 
reference  to  the  Witch  who  raises  the  Wind. 


GLOSSARY 

As-pen.     Always  associated  with  magic.     Its  trembling  leaves 
give  it  a  weird  appearance. 

Bab  a  Tagd.    Russian  witch,  also  Yaga  Bura. 
Babushka.    The  grandmother. 
Bdrkhat.    This  word  also  means  velvet. 

Batyushka.    Father  in  a  general  sense,  meaning  anybody  older. 
Otets  is  father,  meaning  the  relationship  of  father  and  son. 

Birds'  milk.     The  Russian  folk-tale  expression  for  asking  for 
the  moon. 

Boydrs.    This  may  be  translated  earls,  but  in  the  Russian  social 
scale  it  only  meant  the  bigger  men,  the  seigneurs. 

Boyarynyi.    Countesses,  feminine  plural  of  boyar. 

Cbudo-Tuda.    The  Old  Man  of  the  Sea.    This  is  a  very  clear 
loan  from  the  Homeric  Proteus. 

Dyddka.    Uncle.    A  term  of  respect. 

Egorusbko  Zalyo't.    Means  George  the  Bold  Flier. 

Fata.    A  long  silken  glove. 

Gusli.    A  musical  instrument,  something  like  a  zither  with 
seven  strings. 

Ivdsbko  Zapechnik.     Ivan,  who  is  always  sitting  behind  the 
stove. 

Ivdshecbko.    A  diminutive  form  of  Ivan. 

Ivdshko.    A  diminutive  form  of  Ivan. 

Izba.    Hut. 

Kaftan.    A  peasant's  overcoat,  made  very  long. 

Khvalynsk.    The  old  name  of  the  Caspian.     Vide  Vazuza  and 
Volga. 

349 


350 


RUSSIAN  FOLK-TALES 


Korolevich.     King's  son.     Korol,  king. 
KoroUvna.    King's  wife. 

Ksalavy.  Mythical  birds,  the  meaning  of  which  is  entirely 
unknown. 

Mikhdilo  Ivdnovich.    The  popular  name  for  the  bear. 

Misha  Kosoldpy.    Dmitri,  the  Bandylegged. 

Morevna.    Of  the  sea. 

Nikita.    From  the  Greek  Ni/o/r*;?,  conquer. 

Pope.    Village  priest. 

Pud.    A  Russian  weight.    Thirty-six  pounds  avoirdupois. 

Sarafan.  A  short  sleeveless  jacket,  generally  embroidered,  worn 
over  the  bodice  or  the  blouse. 

Sazhen.    A  length  of  seven  feet. 

Sebezh.  A  city  in  the  Vitebsk  province,  bordering  on  Poland. 
The  Poles  and  the  Mussulmen  are  all  called  infidels,  Saracens  or 
Busormany. 

Shuba.    A  fur  mantle. 

Stdrosta.    Mayor  of  a  town. 

'Telega.    A  peasant's  cart  without  springs. 

Isarevick.    Tsar's  son. 

Tydtya.    Daddy. 

Tzarevna.    Tsar's  wife. 

Ukaz.    Imperial  edict. 

Fdnya.    A  diminutive  form  of  Ivan. 

Fertodub.    The  oak-turner,  a  gigantic  figure. 

Vertogor.    The  mountain-turner  ;  a  gigantic  figure. 

Voron  Voronovich.    Crow  Crowson. 

Zamoryshek.  This  name  is  freely  translated  Benjamin,  the 
last-born  son  of  an  old  man. 


PRINTED    BY 

WM.    BRENDON    AND    SON,    LTD. 
PLYMOUTH,    ENGLAND 


PLEASE  DO  NOT  REMOVE 
CARDS  OR  SLIPS  FROM  THIS  POCKET 


UNIVERSITY  OF  TORONTO  LIBRARY 


PG 
3115 
A373 
1916 


Af anas'  ev,  Aleksandr 
Nikolaevich 

Russian  folk- tales